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    First underwater images of HTMS Sukhothai surface as divers search wreck

    ANN/THE NATION THAILAND – The Royal Thai Navy has released the first underwater images of HTMS Sukhothai after the warship disappeared beneath four-metre waves in the Gulf of Thailand 11 days ago.

    The corvette capsized and sank some 20 nautical miles off the coast of Prachuap Khiri Khan’s Bang Saphan district on December 18 with 105 crew onboard.

    Photos and video grabs of the wreck were taken by an undersea drone and a team of divers, who reached the ship for the first time on Wednesday.

    Yesterday saw the SeaFox drone and dive team back at the wreck site, which lies at a depth of 40 metres, searching for bodies of the five crewmen still missing.

    They are also tasked with surveying damage in preparation for the mission to lift the Sukhothai from the seabed.

    A diver inspects the sunken HTMS Sukhothai. PHOTO: THE NATION THAILAND

    HTMS Rawee is circling above the sunken warship as an operating base for the divers, who so far have yet to find any bodies trapped in the ill-fated Sukhothai.

    The search mission launched for its 11th day yesterday with five more to go, said the Navy yesterday morning.

    On Wednesday, three more bodies of Sukhothai crewmen were found on and around islands off Chumphon province. As of yesterday morning, the death toll stood at 24 sailors in what the Navy described as a “historic loss”.

    Seventy-six crewmen have been rescued and brought safely to shore.

    Of the 24 victims, 20 have been identified while DNA test results are pending for the rest.

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