PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN: Hopes faded on Wednesday amongst relatives of Navy sailors and marines still missing after their warship sank off the central coast, even as military-led rescue groups expanded their search area.
Just one of a group of thirty missing seamen has been discovered alive after the HTMS Sukhothai went down late upon Sunday when it was knocked over by four-metre waves plus strong winds, plus six other systems have been retrieved.
The US-made corvette was transporting 105 military workers, many of whom were rescued as or even soon after it sank, while others had to reject ship without lifetime jackets and proceeded to go missing in rough seas.
The navy plus air force mobilised five planes, 6 helicopters, and at least four warships to get the missing sailors.
“We anticipate finding more (of the particular missing) today… We are not able to predict in case those found will be alive, ” navy spokesperson, Admiral Pogkrong Monthardpalin, told broadcaster ThaiPBS, adding weather conditions and visibility got improved.
The boat sank about 20 maritime miles from the coast of Prachuap Khiri Khan province, and authorities on Wed expanded the search area to cover forty square kilometres, Adm Pogkrong said.
Malee Changward, 77, relative of a missing Royal Thai Navy blue sailor prays, as families wait for information on the rescue objective after a Navy corvette sank in the Gulf of Thailand, in Prachuap Khiri Khan province, on Wednesday. (Reuters photo)
The navy said upon Twitter that search efforts were focused on the area where other people had been found on Wednesday.
Households awaited news in rescue centres onshore, but some were already grieving as save teams flew within the recovered bodies.
“I want them (the navy) to take care of all the soldiers like their own household. I don’t need any more losses in this particular kind of incident again, ” said Nawarat Phobat, sister of a deceased marine.
Separately, there have been also concerns that will damage to the HTMS Sukhothai, which have been in service since 1987, could cause its energy to spill in to the Gulf of Asia, navy spokesperson Adm Pogkrong said.
“We are usually closely monitoring the region of the ship and so far there has been no leakage, ” he or she said, adding a team was being assembled to safely repair the ship.
Military incidents in Thailand generally involve aircraft and wrecks of ships are rare. Such as the HTMS Sukhothai, the navy has dropped four warships in the 116 years since its founding.