Thai Navy officials acknowledged that the HTMS Sukothai had insufficient life jackets on board when it sank in the Gulf of Thailand.
The ship sank on Sunday evening with 105 sailors on board, 75 of whom were rescued within hours of the incident. Rescuers on Tuesday recovered one more survivor and five bodies, bringing the total to 76 rescued while 24 remain missing.
The survivor apprehended Tuesday, Chananyu Kansriya, was found adrift among debris 60 km from where the ship sank, according to CBS News. Naval officials said Kansriya was in a weak condition when he was rescued but that he was being treated aboard a naval frigate.
The inclement weather that initially sank the Sukothai continues, hampering rescue efforts. The Navy says small boats could not operate in the harsh conditions. The Navy has instead used four larger ships and a choice of seven aircraft.
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Waves in the Gulf were reportedly more than 3 meters high, or about 10 feet, when the Sukothai sank. The ship sailed under the conditions despite Bad weather warnings and waves of up to 4 meters
Strong winds and high waves reportedly splashed water on the ship’s deck and destroyed the electrical system. With the ship shut down, the sailors could not pump water out of the ship, causing it to hit aggressively and then sink.
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The Sukothai, which entered service in 1987, was 252 feet in length and had a displacement of 959 tons. Thai authorities plan to salvage as much of the ship as possible after the rescue effort is complete.
Officials warned that it was unlikely anyone could survive on the open water for more than two days.
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Survivors of the sinking interviewed by local media said there weren’t enough life jackets for everyone on board because the ship was carrying members of the Thai Marine Corps and Coastal Defense Command, according to CBS. The typical crew of the Sukothai is only 87 people.