Royal Thai Navy rushes to rescue 31 after their ship sinks

The Royal Thai Navy said on Monday search and rescue personnel were still trying to save 31 sailors who were thrown into the Gulf of Thailand overnight when a naval ship sank after suddenly flooding and losing power.

In a series of posts on Facebook Y TwitterNaval officials said the ship, known as HTMS Sukhothai, was on patrol about 20 miles from a port in Prachuap Khiri Khan province when gusty winds and strong waves caused its hull to list.

As the 35-year-old ship was rocking, authorities said, some seawater flowed into the electrical system through an exhaust pipe, causing a power outage that disabled the ship’s machinery and steering mechanisms. . As the crew lost control of the ship, authorities said, more water quickly filled the hull, causing the HTMS Sukhothai to list further.

The crew called for help and the Royal Navy sent other ships and helicopters to the scene. But the HTMS Sukhothai sank just after midnight, authorities said. At about 1 a.m., helicopters arrived and released rescue rafts, a Thai navy spokesman said, adding that more than 70 of them the 106 the crew members had been secured.

At about 10 a.m. local time Monday, the spokesman, Admiral Pokkrong Monthatpalin, said authorities were still trying to rescue 31 naval officers.

In a telephone interview with The New York Times, Admiral Monthatpalin said that the darkness of the night had made it difficult to determine if all the officers had made it to a boat during the first rescue efforts. But he said all officers, including those still in the water, should have worn a life jacket.

“Our top priority now is to search and rescue our fellow boatmen,” Admiral Monthatpalin said. “All of them.”

Most of the more than 70 people who said they had been rescued as of Monday morning have been taken to a nearby port, authorities said; some were taken to a hospital for treatment, while others were taken to a shelter.

HTMS Sukhothai was on normal patrol duty to monitor possible weather hazards. Once all 31 sailors have been rescued, the navy will attempt to salvage the ship, Admiral Monthatpalin said.

“We have to be very careful because there is fuel on the ship,” he added. “We don’t want to have an oil spill.”

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