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Death toll from sinking of Thai navy ship rises to 18

#NEWS UPDATE: 33 crew members still missing in Thai Navy ship sinking Thirty three crew members are missing from the Royal Thai Navy ship HTMS Sukhothai that sank in the Gulf of Thailand early Monday morning, according to a statement from the Royal Thai Navy. ìThere are 33 crew are still floating in the sea, the ships in the incident location are searching to rescue themî the statement read. An earlier statement from the Navy said 28 crew members were missing. That number increased to 33 as search and rescue operations continue into Monday. HTMS Sukhothai sank at 12:12am local time on Monday in the Gulf of Thailand about 20miles (about 32km) from Bang Saphan District, Prachuap Province. The weather in the area remains severe complicating search and rescue missions. From CNNís Kocha Olarn in Bangkok and Teele Rebane in Hong Kong #NEWS: Three crew members in critical condition as Thai Navy ship sinks The Royal Thai Navy ship, HTMS Sukhothai, sunk at 11:30pm local time on Sunday, leaving three crew members in critical condition according to a tweet from the Royal Thai Navy. Of the 106 crew members on board, 78 have been rescued, 28 are still in the water and 3 are in critical condition according to the Navy. HTMS Sukhothai sank in the Gulf of Thailand about 20miles (about 32km) from Bang Saphan District, Prachuap Province. ìRTN (Royal Thai Navy) has tried its best to salvage, but it couldnít resolve this emergency situation due to the strong wind,î the Navy said in a tweet. Earlier on Sunday the Navy tweeted that strong winds caused the HTMS Sukhothai to tilt and water to flow into the shipís electrical system causing it to shut down. Rescue operations are continuing into Monday. From CNNís Kocha Olarn in Bangkok and Teele Rebane in Hong Kong

(CNN) — Thailand‘s navy said Sunday that the death toll from the sinking of one of its warships earlier in the week had risen to 18.

The HTMS Sukhothai sank in severe weather early Monday, leaving dozens of its crew missing in stormy seas in the Gulf of Thailand.

11 officers remain missing, the Royal Thai Navy said in an update Sunday. Of the 105 on board the ship at the time of the disaster, 76 have been rescued.

The ship was carrying 30 more people than usual at the time of its sinking, and there were not enough life jackets for all of them, the commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Navy Adm. Cherngchai Chomcherngpat said Tuesday.

The extra officers were aboard because the ship was taking part in a salute to the founder of the Thai navy, Cherngchai said. The crew were “fully aware about the problem of not having enough life jackets for 30 additional officers. They tried to use other tools which could save the lives of officers who didn’t have life jackets,” Cherngchai added.

Some of those without life jackets tried to escape on inflatable rafts, some of which were stored aboard the HTMS Sukhothai and some of which were dropped by rescue helicopters and other ships.

“With or without life jacket (it) doesn’t affect the odds of surviving,” the admiral said.

He said the ship sank after seawater entered and disabled its power systems.

Waves were between 3 and 4 meters (10 feet to 13 feet) high at the time and the water temperature was about 29 degrees Celsius (84 degrees Fahrenheit).

Water entered the front portion of the 252-foot (76.8-meter) long warship around 8:45 p.m. Sunday, Cherngchai said.

The flooding continued for more than three hours, eventually disabling the ship’s engine and electrical systems and dooming efforts to pump it out.

Rescue teams in helicopters tried to lower water pumps to the ship but the efforts were thwarted as the vessel began to tilt heavily.

The admiral dismissed a suggestion that the almost 40-year-old ship might not have been in proper shape to handle the high seas, saying it had been upgraded several times in recent years.