Rescuers find six bodies, one survivor from sunken Thai warship

The Royal Thai Navy corvette HTMS Sukhothai lists heavily before finally sinking in the Gulf of Thailand, December 18, 2022. (Photo: Royal Thai Navy)
The Royal Thai Navy corvette HTMS Sukhothai lists heavily before finally sinking in the Gulf of Thailand, December 18, 2022. (Photo: Royal Thai Navy)

Search and rescue (SAR) teams have found six deceased victims and one survivor of the sinking of a Royal Thai Navy vessel that occurred earlier this week.

The six deceased individuals and the lone survivor have all been identified as crewmen on the ill-fated corvette HTMS Sukhothai, which suffered water ingress and eventually sank in bad weather in the Gulf of Thailand some 32 kilometres off Prachuap Khiri Khan province in the late evening (local time) of Sunday, December 18.

Navy officials said the victims and the survivor were found during SAR operations on Tuesday, December 20. The bodies of the deceased crewmen have since been airlifted to various hospitals to undergo autopsies.

Officials added that many of the survivors suffered broken bones as the ship's sinking and the subsequent SAR effort both occurred in worsening weather.

Admiral Choengchai Chomchoengpaet, Royal Thai Navy Commander-in-Chief, admitted in a press conference in Bangkok on Tuesday that Sukhothai was carrying additional personnel besides its regular crew complement at the time of the incident. This then resulted in an insufficient number of available life jackets when it became necessary to abandon ship.

Divers will be sent to inspect the corvette's wreckage, which currently lies at a depth of more than 40 metres, as soon as the weather in the area improves.

A navy spokesperson said that 23 personnel who were on board Sukhothai are still missing.

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