SURAT THANI: The search for three missing passengers from the sunken ferry Raja 4 was called off for the day about 2pm on Wednesday and will resume on Thursday morning.
The ferry capsized and sank in a violent storm off Koh Samui island on Saturday night.
It was carrying 16 people, three 10-wheel lorries loaded with blocks of compressed garbage and electronic and recyclable waste, and a pickup truck. Eleven people were safely rescued, and two were found dead. Three are still missing.
The search resumed on Wednesday morning at 7am with a command centre operating from the navy vessel Ravi 785, of the 2nd Naval Area.
Three teams totalling 34 divers took part in the search. They included 14 foreign diving instructors from Koh Tao, including Ivan Karadzic, a Danish diver who took part in the rescue of 13 members of a junior football team and their coach who were trapped in the Khun Nam Nang Non cave complex in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district in 2018.
Four teams of four divers each took turns going down to examine the sunken ferry for about 30 minutes at a time.
They found the ferry had overturned, with the tail sinking 2 metres into the mud. Two lorries were still fixed on the ferry. The vehicles’ glass windows had been broken from the inside. The missing drivers were not inside them.
Suthipong Klai-udom, Surat Thani deputy governor, called off the search about 2pm when a strong undercurrent made conditions too dangerous to continue.
The search will resume on Thursday morning.