PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN: Four bodies were found in the Gulf of Thailand on Tuesday, the Thai Marine said the chief, after the sinking of a military vessel two days ago.
More than 70 survivors of the HTMS Sukhothai have been pulled from the sea since the ship sank on Sunday evening about 37 kilometers (22 miles) off the southeast coast of Thailand.
Rescuers in helicopters, two planes and four ships – HTMS Kraburi, HTMS Angthong, HTMS Naresuan and HTMS Bhumibol Adulyadej – were scanning the turbulent waters for more than 20 sailors still missing, the navy said.
“Four found dead,” Royal Thai Navy Commander-in-Chief Choengchai Chomchoengpaet told a news conference in Bangkok.
Earlier on Tuesday, Navy Commander Pichai Lorchusakul confirmed that rescuers had found Chananyu Gansriya, 23, from Loei province, in good health.
“I think it’s good news that we can find more people,” he said, adding that Chananyu was being treated aboard HTMS Angthong.
Efforts to find the missing crew focused on aerial searches, with the Royal Thai Air Force assisting the operation, which was affected by high winds.
Families “full of hope”
At a wharf in Prachuap Khiri Khan province, anxious families of missing persons gathered to await news.
SiriEsaSaharat Esa’s mother, 21, who was on board, had a smile on her face when she heard about the latest rescue.
“I also have faith in my son. That’s good news,” she said.
Tuesday’s waves were still high, Navy spokesman Admiral Pogkrong Montradpalin said, noting that the search area had expanded and focused “on the area near the coast, depending on currents and the wind”.
Another naval officer, Narong Khumburi, had previously expressed hope that other survivors would be discovered, as they had life jackets — “But I imagine they must be exhausted.”
Sahachart Limcharoenphakdeemember of the National Institute of Emergency Medicine, said he was working with Navy personnel to care for those torn from the waters.
“I’m hopeful and have faith in the skillful navy rescue team,” he said of the search for survivors.
Local doctors carried out health checks on those rescued earlier, and some were transferred to hospital.
Some “suffered from fractures of the upper arm and fingers”, Wara Selawatanakulsaid a doctor from the provincial health department.
Mother Phongsri Suksawat, 50, said she was “100 per cent” hopeful her youngest son, 22, Chirawat Toophorm would come home.
“I thought everything would be fine and nothing bad would happen because of the storm,” she said, adding that before boarding, her son had asked her to look after her. his wife.
“I would like to kiss her.”
Electrical fault
The ship – a corvette, the smallest type of military warship – reportedly ran into trouble after its electronics were damaged, according to the Navy.
Parts of southern Thailand have been hit by storms and flooding in recent days.
A warning from Thailand’s meteorological office remained in place on Tuesday, with high winds causing choppy conditions in the Gulf of Thailand. Sailors were warned to be careful and small boats were told to stay ashore.
HTMS Sukhothai was commissioned in 1987 and built in the United States by the defunct Tacoma Boatbuilding Company, according to the US Naval Institute.

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