A second empty life raft, possibly from the sunken HTMS Sukhothai, was found washed ashore in Lang Suan district of Chumphon province on Thursday, as the search for the 23 missing crew continues.

The first empty life raft was found drifting at sea about 30km off the coast of Lamae district yesterday (Wednesday) by the crew of a trawler.

After an extensive search of coastal areas, which continued late into the night, volunteers from the Reporters Association of Pathio district found a pair of dark blue tracksuit bottoms with red stripe and a black cap with a sun shade washed ashore on Thung Chang Beach in Pathio district. The two items were collected and sent to the provincial office.

Volunteers on foot patrol scoured the beaches of Pathio district last night, but they didn’t find any of the 23 missing crew members. The search resumed Thursday morning, with about 20 jet skis, led by Pol Col Nirun Kanju, the superintendent of Map Ammarit police station, joining the effort.

Chumphon province is where any missing crew are believed to have been swept ashore by wind and waves. An operation centre has been set up in front of the Paknam Chumphon sub-district municipal office to coordinate search operations.

Meanwhile, chief of the Mu Ko Chumphon National Park, Suwannao Saensuk, mobilised his men and patrol boats to join the sea search today, from Pa Thieu district to Bang Saphan Noi district of Prachuap Khiri Khan and all the way to Mueang, Thung Tako, Lang Suan and Lamae districts of Chumphon, but they found no trace of the missing crew.

Chumphon Governor Wisa Poonsirirat has ordered all agencies concerned to support the search operations, in the hope that the remaining life rafts and missing crew might be swept towards the coast of this southern province.

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