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Bangkok Post
Bangkok Post

1 sailor rescued, 6 bodies retrieved

A sailor from HTMS Sukhothai is taken by air to Queen Sirikit Naval Hospital in Chon Buri for treatment on Tuesday. (Photo: Chaiyot Pupattanapong)

One sailor was rescued while the bodies of six others among 30 missing were retrieved on Tuesday following the capsizing of a Thai warship in choppy seas, according to the Royal Thai Navy.

The navy is now focused on rescuing the remaining 23 sailors who were aboard HTMS Sukhothai, said spokesman Adm Pokkrong Monthatpalin.

The ship sank during a storm in the Gulf of Thailand off the coast of Prachuap Khiri Khan on Sunday.

On Monday, 31 of the 106 sailors and marines aboard the vessel were initially reported missing. The number was reduced to 30 after one was later rescued by HTMS Kraburi off Prachuap Khiri Khan.

Another seven were found on Tuesday in the area where the ship went down, with only one still alive, navy chief Adm Choengchai Chomchoengpaet said.

"I'd like to express my deepest condolences to all the families of the deceased among the crew of HTMS Sukhothai," said Adm Choengchai.

Adm Choengchai said a fact-finding probe would be launched, including investigation of reports that an insufficient number of life jackets were on the ship.

A source said the rescued sailor, a ship inspector, revealed the vessel was unable to anchor off a beach, so it needed to head back to Sattahip.

At that time, a unit of marines decided to head back there with the ship, increasing the number of crew on board.

This meant that despite there being 70 life jackets available, there were not enough to go around after the ship capsized in the storm, said the source.

Adm Chonlathit Nawanukhro, the navy's chief of staff, said the bodies were being sent to be formally identified.

He said the navy remains hopeful more survivors will be found.

He also thanked the navies of other countries that had offered to assist in the search for the missing sailors.

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