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Search continues for missing men after boat sinking

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Search continues for missing men after boat sinking | Thaiger

PHUKET: The Phuket Marine Police and the Royal Thai Navy Third Naval Command continue to search the waters around Koh Racha Yai and Koh Racha Noi for two missing men whose fishing boat capsized and sank in heavy seas late Sunday afternoon.

Phuket Marine Police Inspector Lt Col Prasert Srikunnarat identified the two men as Surat Boonserm and Phuthong Tirawattana, both part of a five-man party that left Phuket in a 20-meter recreational fishing vessel on Saturday.

“Their boat capsized about four nautical miles east of Koh Racha Yai about 5 pm after being hit by waves whipped up by tropical storm Lekima,” Col Prasert said.

The five survivors, all wearing life jackets, disagreed about what to do after their boat sank, he added.

“Three of the men decided to stay in the area where the boat sank and wait for help, while Surat and Phuthong tried to swim to a tiny island visible in the distance.”

About 10 am on Monday, the Navy received a report from the fishing boat that a small group of people were spotted floating in the sea about six kilometers east of Koh Racha Yai.

Two Marine Police vessels were dispatched and picked up the three men about 3 pm, returning them to the Phuket Deep Sea Port about 6 pm.

They were identified as Thais Jit Suwannarat, 55, and Prasert Saetee, 45, and Taiwanese national Ou Tien Fa, operator of a Chinese Restaurant at Saphan Hin.

Lt Cdr Narong Onpakdee of the Third Naval Command told the Gazette the combined police and Navy search for their two companions has been hindered by strong winds that have prevented the navy from doing an aerial search by helicopter.

A 30-meter Navy vessel searched a small island located between Racha Yai and Racha Noi after a report that some people were spotted there, but the men were not found.

The Navy continue to check with the two men’s relatives and local harbors to see if there have been any reports of their appearance.

As both men were wearing life jackets, they are presumed to still be alive, he said.

Continued strong winds and heavy seas have forced fishing vessels at Koh Racha to remain in port, he added.

 

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