By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
BANGKOK (Worthy News) – Thai military officials say 31 sailors are missing after their warship carrying more than 100 crew capsized and sank during a storm in the Gulf of Thailand.
Navy ships and helicopters searched Monday for the sailors who were feared dead following the tragedy.
Thai officials said the ship, known as the HTMS Sukhothai, had been on patrol about 20 miles (32 kilometers) from a port in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province when gusty winds and strong waves caused its hull to tilt.
As the 35-year-old ship swayed, officials explained, some seawater flowed into the electrical system through an exhaust pipe, causing a power outage.
That rendered the ship’s machinery and steering mechanisms useless. As the crew lost control of the vessel, officials said, more water rapidly filled the hull, causing the HTMS Sukhothai to tilt further.
The crew called for help, and the Royal Navy dispatched other boats and helicopters to the scene.
HELICOPTERS, NAVY SEARCHING
But the HTMS Sukhothai sank just after midnight, officials said.
By about 1 a.m., helicopters had arrived and released rescue rafts, a Thai Navy spokesman said.
He added that more than 70 of the 106 crew members had been rescued.
The incident marks the first sinking of a Thai warship since the second world war, according to Thai media.
During the war, an American submarine torpedoed the HTMS Samui near Malaysia, killing 31 sailors, ironically the same number of people missing Monday.
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