Thailand Navy ships and helicopters are searching for 31 sailors missing after their warship carrying more than 100 crew sank in rough seas in the Gulf of Thailand.
The HTMS Sukhothai capsized late on Sunday while it was on patrol about 37 km off the nation’s southeastern coast. The HTMS Sukhothai sank after water flooded its power controls on Sunday night.
The Sukhothai was built in Tacoma, Washington, in the United States and was commissioned in 1987. It was a mid-sized Corvette, an armed vessel typically used for patrolling close-to-shore waters.
The warship had been on patrol 32 km from the pier in Bangsaphan district in Prachuap Khiri Khan province. Pokkrong said the ship had been on a regular patrol to assist any fishing boats needing help.
“Our top priority now is to rescue all the sailors,” he said. “We will plan to have the ship salvaged later.”
As of Tuesday, six bodies were recovered according to the Thai Navy. The dead sailors and one survivor were found as military teams scoured waters in the Gulf of Thailand.
A search is continuing for 23 sailors still missing. The Navy says 76 crew members have been rescued in total. The navy also announced an investigation into the cause of the disaster.
Northern and central Thailand are seeing their coldest temperatures of the year, and far southern Thailand has been experiencing storms and flooding in recent days.