Thai Navy Ship Sinks, Rescue Underway For 31 Sailors In Gulf Of Thailand

BANGKOK (AP) — Thai navy ships and helicopters have been looking out on Monday for greater than two dozen sailors nonetheless lacking greater than 12 hours after a warship sank in tough seas in a single day within the Gulf of Thailand.

As of midday, 75 sailors from the HTMS Sukhothai corvette had been rescued and 31 have been nonetheless within the water, the navy mentioned. The excessive waves that brought about the accident had lessened since Sunday night time’s sinking, however have been nonetheless excessive sufficient to hazard small boats, the navy introduced.

A rescued crew member interviewed by Thai PBS tv mentioned he needed to float within the sea for 3 hours earlier than he was rescued. He mentioned that the ship was buffeted by waves 3 meters (10 ft) excessive because it was sinking Sunday night time, complicating rescue efforts.

“The waves are still high and we cannot search for them from the horizontal line. We have to fly the helicopters and search for them from a bird’s eye view instead,” navy spokesman Adm. Pokkrong Monthatphalin advised Thai PBS.

In this picture supplied by the Royal Thai Navy, the HTMS Sukhothai corvette warship lists off the coast of Prachuap Khiri Khan province, Thailand on Sunday. The Thai navy ship sunk within the Gulf of Thailand and ships and helicopters have been working Monday to rescue sailors from the water.

Robust winds blew seawater onto the HTMS Sukhothai and knocked out its electrical system Sunday night, making management of the ship tough. The navy dispatched three frigates and two helicopters with cell pumping machines to attempt to help the disabled ship by eradicating the seawater but it surely couldn’t accomplish that due to the sturdy winds.

The lack of energy allowed extra seawater to circulate into the vessel, inflicting it to checklist and sink.

The warship had been on patrol at sea 32 kilometers (20 miles) from the pier at Bangsaphan district in Prachuap Khiri Khan province. Pokkrong mentioned the ship had been on its common patrol to help any fishing boats needing assist.

“Our top priority now is to rescue all the sailors. We will plan to have the ship salvaged later,” he mentioned. The search was being performed in an space of 16 sq. kilometers (6.2 sq. miles) across the web site of the sinking.

Whereas northern and central Thailand are seeing their coldest temperatures of the yr, far southern Thailand has been experiencing storms and flooding in latest days. Ships have been warned to remain ashore.