THE NAVY continued searching for the last five sailors missing in the sinking of HTMS 442 Sukhothai corvette in the Gulf of Thailand on Dec. 18 even though today is New Year’s Day with the SEALs special operation force too deployed, Sanook.com said.
Vice Adm. Pichai Lorchusakul, commander of First Naval Area, said the search and rescue operation continued on the 14th day today by both sea and air.
However yesterday strong wind prevented small boats from setting out and this also reduced the search to half the day. Today’s search too is mainly being carried out by large ships and aircraft.
The navy’s SEALs force has high-speed and rubber boats which are being used to hunt for the missing sailors at Koh Klab, Koh Yung, Koh Nu, Koh Maew and Koh Kula of Chumphon province.
Units from the First Naval Area’s Maritime Enforcement Command Centre are searching from Prachuab Khiri Khan port at Bang Sapan district to Chumphon province’s Lang Suan district focusing on beaches and surrounding islands.
However so far no more bodies have been found while Bang Saphan police station is working on verifying the identity of one of the recovered bodies, Vice Adm. Pichai added.
As of 11 a.m. today of the total of 105 sailors and marine passengers aboard the sunk warship 76 survived while 24 died but the identity of one of the bodies is still determined and five remain missing.
The navy’s search and rescue operation for missing sailors is continuing even during the New Year festival. Photos: Thai Rath, second below: Sanook.com