Navy rescue drills off Phuket declared a success

PHUKET: The Royal Thai Navy conducted training drills on Tuesday with the aim of improving coordination among the different emergency response units in Phuket.

The exercise, which ran from 9am to midday, was staged on the beach in front of the Third Naval Area Command base at Cape Panwa.

Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha and Vice Admiral Taratorn Kajitsuwan, Commander of the Third Naval Area Command, chaired an opening ceremony that included the release of 229 sea turtles.

Royal Thai Navy Capt Puchong Rodnikorn explained that the multi-agency exercise comprised three different hypothetical disaster scenarios.

“The first scenario involved a casualty evacuation by Sea Lynx naval helicopter, with a mock casualty victim airlifted from Racha Yai island to Cape Panwa,” he said.

“The second was based on the scenario that a cargo vessel had collided with a cruise liner, resulting in a multi-agency rescue effort to save passengers and crew from both vessels, as well as those in the sea.”

“The final scenario was an evacuation drill of people from Cape Panwa, intended to demonstrate the capabilities of two large navy landing craft: HTMS Wangnai and HTMS Mannok,” he said.

Speaking after the exercise, V/Adm Taratorn said, “The weather was fine, allowed us to conduct all the planned exercises. It was very successful.”

“We will conduct the next exercise in Krabi on July 17,” he added.

“We recently opened new helipads near tourist areas in Ranong, Koh Surin, Koh Similan and Koh Racha. We are also looking at building a helipad on Phi Phi island, but have yet to identify a suitable location,” the VADM said.

It didn’t take long for the helipad at Koh Racha Yai to prove its worth.

A Chinese snorkeler found off the island was rushed back to Phuket by helicopter by the Third Naval Area Command on July 7, the day after the helipad was officially opened.

For a full report, pick up a copy of the Phuket Gazette that goes on sale at news stands around the island today.

— Chutharat Plerin

Phuket News

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