Thai authorities informed that a Royal Thai Navy warship sank early Monday due to extreme weather conditions. The warship had a crew of 106 members, out of which 33 sailors are still missing and search operations are in underway. Three sailors were rescued and were in critical condition, the authorities said. It's been over 12 hours since the warship sank.
Here are 7 things you need to know about the accident:
1) HTMS Sukhothai, a corvette (small) warship of the Ratanakosin class, had been on a patrol 32km (20 miles) east of Bang Saphan, in the Prachuap Khiri Khan province. Strong winds in the Gulf of Thailand tilted the 252-foot (76.8-meter) long ship, allowing sea water to enter an exhaust pipe.
2) The ship, according to officials, sank after it took on water which eventually flooded its hull. This led to short-circuiting in its power room. The crew scrambled to retain control of the ship after the loss of power. However, the ship listed on to its side despite the crew's efforts.
3) Other naval vessels tried to transfer pumps to the Sukhothai over the course of more than three hours, only to be unsuccessful in the end, authorities said. “At 00.12 am of Monday, the Sukhothai tiled even further and later sank,” the Thai navy said in its statement.
4) Thai navy posted dramatic pictures on its Twitter handle showing the vessel listing onto its side, and back-up rescue ships trying to find survivors in choppy waters. Thai authorities said that three naval ships and helicopters were sent to assist, but only the HTMS Kraburi reached the vessel before it sank.
5) The navy said that HTMS Kraburi picked up most of the Sukhothai's crew, as sailors wearing life jackets were found in the water and in life rafts. The navy, however, has not revealed much details about the condition of sailors who were rescued. Pictures published by local Thai media showed medical personnel at the dock taking crew members off in stretchers.
6) Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-Cha released a statement on Monday, saying officials were investigating the disaster."I am following the news closely - about five people are seriously injured," Prayut Chan-o-Cha said.
7) The HTMS Sukhothai was built for the Thai navy in the US in the mid-1980s. The 960-ton Sukhothai was commissioned into the Thai navy in 1987. The ship, since then, has been in use for 35 years.
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