Backpack found on Koh Tao from sailor on HTMS Sukhothai

PHOTO: A tourist on Koh Tao found the backpack of a missing sailor from last week's shipwreck. (via Thai Newsroom)

As search and rescue efforts enter their seventh day after the wreck of the HTMS Sukhothai, a tourist on Koh Tao found a grim relic of the tragedy. A Norwegian tourist on holiday on the tiny island in the Gulf of Thailand stumbled upon a backpack on the beach belonging to one of the missing sailors from the shipwreck.

The man had been enjoying a holiday with his family on Koh Tao, staying at Haad Tien Resort. One day while walking along the beach he spotted a backpack floating along the shore. He waded in and recovered the brown bag. The Norwegian man said he had been following the news about the sunken ship and had a strong feeling that the backpack he discovered belonged to someone aboard the ship.

He turned over the bag to the staff at his resort and they in turn contacted district officials and local police. The deputy head for investigation at the Koh Tao police station and the district chief in neighbouring Koh Phangan received the backpack and investigated.

They quickly confirmed the Norwegian man’s suspicions when they examined the contents of the backpack. Inside they found an ID card for Private Thaweesak Sae Siew along with his Navy ID card. The rest of the bag contained everyday items – some clothes and toiletries, ATM cards, and a card from Queen Sirikit Hospital. The backpack also held 46 baht in cash and a gold-bronze-coloured iPhone.

Thai Newsroom and other media sources didn’t confirm the status of the owner of the found backpack but it appears to be one of the men still lost at sea. A spokesman for the navy updated the details yesterday. Out of the 105 sailors and marine passengers on the ship when it sank, 76 have been rescued now. Six of the people on board have been confirmed dead.

Yesterday another six bodies had been recovered, but the spokesman for the navy said only five of them had been confirmed to be sailors. The sixth body had no hints that would suggest that they were sailors aboard the ship. That means up to 18 of the people on board of the HTMS Sukhothai are still missing.

South Thailand News

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.