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Bangkok Post
Bangkok Post

Body of another Sukhothai crewman identified

Searchers man an inflatable boat as they wait for divers to surface off an island in Chumphon province on Friday as the search for bodies from HTMS Sukhothai continues. (Photo: Royal Thai Navy Facebook account)

The body of another crewman from HTMS Sukhothai has been identified as searchers focus on islands off Chumphon province in the hope of finding the five remaining missing sailors almost two weeks after the warship sank in the Gulf of Thailand.

Royal Thai Navy spokesman Adm Pokkrong Monthatpalin said on Friday that the latest victim found on Thursday was CPO 1 Prai Ruamyart. His body and two others were to be transported from Wing 5 in Prachuap Khiri Khan to the Royal Thai Navy Crematorium in Sattahip district of Chon Buri for royally sponsored bathing and religious rites on Friday afternoon.

Authorities are waiting for the results of DNA tests to confirm the identity of one more dead crewman.

Five sailors are still missing, with 76 survivors and 23 deaths, as the search and rescue operation entered a 12th day on Friday.

The navy corvette with 105 personnel on board sank amid gusty winds and very rough seas shortly before midnight on Dec 18 off Bang Saphan district in Prachuap Khiri Khan.

The navy is preparing to open an investigation into the sinking and related issues, including the cause, ship maintenance and operation, what happened when the ship was abandoned and the ensuing rescue efforts.

Divers look for the remaining five missing sailors from HTMS Sukhothai in a dive off Chumphon on Friday. (Photo: Royal Thai Navy Facebook account)

The spokesman and Vice Admiral Pichai Lorchusakul, commander of the 1st Region of the Royal Thai Navy, said in separate briefings that the mission on Friday would focus on islands and the sea off Chumphon, including Lanka Jew and Ngam Yai which are part of Mu Ko Chumphon National Park.

The navy has sent 28 highly skilled Seals divers to join 50 navy and volunteer frogmen in the operation in shallow and deep seas.

“We hope we can find the remaining five today [Friday],” Vice Adm Pichai said at the field operation command in Bang Saphan.

Most of the recently recovered bodies have been found in the waters off Chumphon, prompting searchers to concentrate on the sea in the southern province.

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