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One dead, two missing as Phang Nga ferry sinks



One dead, two missing as Phang Nga ferry sinks | Thaiger

PHANG NGA: A ferry overloaded with construction material capsized and sank off Koh Prathong in Kuraburi district about 1 am Tuesday, claiming the life of the captain. Two others survived, but a woman and her granddaughter are missing presumed dead.

Pol Maj Nirat Chuayjit of the Marine Police office in Kuraburi identified the sunken ferry as the Jern Jern, a flat-topped car ferry about 20 meters long and six meters wide operated by Jern Jern Co.

The vessel now lies in about seven meters of water off Haad Sai Khao Village 1 in Tambon Bang Wan, said Maj Nirat.

The boat sank while it was preparing to berth at a pier after a seven-kilometer voyage from Baan Thung La Ong, he added.

Maj Nirat said the vessel had a load capacity of 50 tons, but was carrying an estimated 70 to 80 tons of vehicles laden with construction materials when it listed and sank.

The cargo comprised building materials, such as rock and cement, as well as an extended-cab pickup truck and an excavator, he said.

The vessel was hired to ferry the cargo to Baan Pak Jok in Koh Pratong’s Village 4, where a project to build permanent homes for tsunami survivors is underway, Maj Nirat explained.

He identified the two survivors as Prakong Mernwan and Vatcharin Kwunjai.

The body of the captain, Pattani native Roheem Waewwannajit, 56, was found floating near the sunken vessel about 10 am yesterday.

Maj Nirat said the body showed signs of trauma and was probably hit by a large object.

The two survivors told him that the boat listed and all its cargo began sliding off into the water just before it capsized.

Capt Roheem’s body was likely pulled under at that time and resurfaced later, said Maj Nirat.

The two missing and presumed dead were identified as Duangporn Petchsungnern and her nine-year-old granddaughter, Sirintip Na Takuathung.

“One of the survivors said the ferry started taking on water at the bow and then began to list slowly to starboard. The load of rocks began to shift to that side and then the tractor and pickup slid in that direction, too. Finally, the vessel capsized and sank,” he said.

The search for the two missing people continues with about 50 workers, Maj Nirat told the Gazette early this afternoon.

Divers have already searched around the wreck but have been unable to find the bodies, he said.

There has been no efforts thus far to salvage the vessel, he added.


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