Thai navy ship sinking: Race against time to find missing sailors

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Rescuers are combing the Gulf of Thailand on the crucial second day of a search for 30 sailors who are still missing after a warship sank.

Survivors have been found after floating for hours, with some in an unconscious state, officials said.

The HTMAS Sukhotai carrying 105 crew went down late Sunday after becoming flooded during a storm.

Rescuers have saved 75 people so far, with boats and helicopters in an operation scouring the rough seas.

On Monday night, a Thai naval commander said life jackets and other flotational devices as well as the officers’ training “allow us 48 hours to save their life.”

“Therefore, [Tuesday] will be the highlight. We will try to do as much as we can to save them,” Vice Admiral Pichai Lorchusakul said.

With a third of the crew still unaccounted for, the Thai navy and air force resumed the search on Tuesday with hundreds of officers on four naval ships as well as several helicopters deployed to scan a vast 50-square-kilometer (30 square miles) area.

Several sailors have already been found, injured and exhausted after spending many hours at sea.

“He was still conscious, so we could take him out of the water safely. He has a minor wound on his head and sore eyes as he was exposed to seawater,” Captain Krapich Korawee-Paparwit of the HTMS Kraburi said.

Another unidentified crew member said he had been in the water for several hours before he was rescued.

“The waves were quite high, about three meters when the ship sank,” he said in a clip shared on local media. “I put on the life jacket and jumped. I swam for three hours.”

Other sailors were found in a life raft after they jumped from the sinking vessel.

Agencies

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