Bodies of 6 sailors from Thai warship brought ashore, search window narrows for 23 still missing

The bodies of six sailors from the HTMS Sukhothai who were found dead were brought back to shore on Tuesday and Wednesday morning. The warship had capsized in rough seas on Sunday and the search was on for at least 33 missing sailors. 

The bodies were carried to land in helicopter from where they were taken to hospital by ambulance for autopsy and identification. Twenty-three sailors are still missing in the Gulf of Thailand. Hundreds of Thai navy officers on four naval ships, many helicopters, and unmanned drones are carrying on the operation to search for those still unaccounted for. Reportedly, some of the missing sailors are without life jackets. 

The warship was knocked over by four-meter waves and strong winds, resulting in it going down about 20 nautical miles off Prachuap Khiri Khan province. The vessel suffered an engine malfunction due to the water. 

105 military personnel were on board the US-made corvette that has been in use since 1987. 

Vice Admiral Pichai Lorchusakul, the regional navy commander, said finding the men on Tuesday would be critical given their time exposed to the elements.

“The most recent discovery, who was still alive, was made 41 hours after the ship sank. We will keep looking because we think there are people still alive out there “the navy’s chief of staff, Admiral Chonlathis Navanugraha, said.

Other sailors who leapt from the sinking ship were discovered on a life raft. The military posted images and video of survivors being transported to hospitals while they are wrapped in blankets on Twitter.

(With inputs from agencies)

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