Tuesday (Dec. 20) rescuers in helicopters combed the Gulf of Thailand for scores of servicemen who went missing when their military vessel sank, hoping their life vests let them survive two nights in the rough waters.
Seventy-six sailors were rescued from the water when the HTMS Sukhothai sank late Sunday in the Gulf of Thailand, approximately 37 kilometers southeast of Thailand’s southeastern coast.
In conjunction with other navy warships and two Seahawk helicopters, the Thai destroyer HTMS Kraburi departed port Tuesday morning to start the hunt for 30 missing servicemen in rough waters.
“I am optimistic that we will discover some survivors since they are wearing life jackets,” said naval officer Narong Khumburi.
The focus of efforts to locate the missing crew was on aerial searches, with assistance from the Royal Thai Air Force.
Kraiwit Kornraweeprapapitch, commander of the HTMS Kraburi, stated that somewhat improved weather would aid in the search.
“The search format remains the same, which is a cooperative effort with helicopters,” he added.
His vessel and its 176-person crew will join the HTMS Angthong, HTMS Naresuan, and HTMS Bhumibol Adulyadej in scanning a region extending from Prachuab to upper Chumporn and measuring approximately 50 kilometers by 50 kilometers.
“Right now, we’re only using the helicopter to survey the situation,” naval diver Prawit Gongnak told AFP at the Prachuap Khiri Khan town port.
Prawit, who was watching the sunny but windy weather, said he was one of 29 divers on standby.
“We have not yet been ordered to dive,” he continued.
Sahachart Limcharoenphakdee, a member of the National Institute of Emergency Medicine, stated that the organization was collaborating with navy officials to assist people rescued from the sea.
“I am optimistic and have faith in the navy’s skilled rescue squad,” he added.
Late Monday night, naval commander Pichai Lorchusakul informed reporters on the pier that the search for survivors remained their primary objective.
“Our top objective is to look for and rescue as many as possible,” he stated.
Pichai noted that the Thai navy has never lost a ship in this manner before.
According to the navy, the corvette, the smallest sort of naval warship, is suspected to have gotten into problems when its electronics system was destroyed.
A spokeswoman stated, “The spacecraft’s operational systems failed, forcing the ship to lose control.”
In recent days, parts of southern Thailand have been impacted by rains and flooding.
Strong winds caused harsh conditions in the Gulf of Thailand on Tuesday, prompting the Thai meteorological office to issue a warning advising mariners to continue with care and small boats to remain onshore.
According to the US Naval Institute, the HTMS Sukhothai was commissioned in 1987 and constructed in the United States by the now-defunct Tacoma Boatbuilding Company.