Thai navy shipwreck: Bodies of six sailors discovered by rescuers

The bodies of six crew members of a Thai warship that sank off the nation’s southeast coast have been recovered, the Navy said on Tuesday. Military personnel searching the Gulf of Thailand’s seas discovered the dead sailors and one survivor. The search is still ongoing for 23 missing sailors. The navy reports that a total of 76 crew members have been saved. With 105 crew members on board, the HTMS Sukhothai sank on Sunday night after losing power during a storm. 

The Thai navy and air force have been scouring a 50 sq km (30 sq mi) area of ocean for survivors over the last two days with the help of hundreds of officers on four naval ships, many helicopters, and unmanned drones.

“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.

Given the length of time they had been in the water, a navy officer had earlier stated search personnel had just a two-day opportunity to discover anyone alive.

Numerous seamen have already been discovered, some of them weary and asleep. Not every missing person is wearing a life jacket.

“We found this guy holding a life buoy… he was floating in the water for 10 hours,” Captain Krapich Korawee-Paparwit of the HTMS Kraburi told Reuters.

He added that the man, still conscious, had a minor head wound and “sore eyes as he was exposed to sea water.”

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.

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On Tuesday, Navy authorities lowered their original estimate of the ship’s population from 106 to 105.

The 76-meter-long corvette HTMS Sukhothai was on day two of a regular patrol when it was sunk. The navy said that after flooding its hull, water then entered the electrical room and shut off the power.

Pictures from of the dramatic incident were released on the navy’s Twitter account. The ship was seen listing to its starboard side before it submerged on Sunday at approximately 23:30 local time (16:30 GMT).

Other navy ships were informed right away and dispatched to help, but only the HTMS Kraburi frigate managed to get to the boat in Prachuap Khiri Khan province, some 32 kilometres (20 miles) east of Bang Saphan, before it sunk.

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