The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) Third Area Command, based at Cape Panwa, reported yesterday that the Navy base received a call for assistance from the fishing boat ‘Siri Namchok 12’ at about 5:30pm on Sunday (Aug 21).
Crewman Ekarat Limsomboon, 43, had been lost overboard amid strong waves, the boat reported.
RTN Boat Tor 233 was dispatched to aid in the search being carried out by Siri Namchok 12 and other fishing boats in the area.
Mr Ekarat had been lost overboard about 1.5 nautical miles west of Koh Kaew Noi island, small uninhabited island no more than 500 metres from north to south and about 300m across at its widest point.
The island is located about 2.5 kilometres south-southwest of the southernmost tip of Promthep Cape. The whole island has been designated a protected national forest.
The flotilla of vessels that had joined the search scoured the waters around Koh Lone, Koh Bon, Koh Kaew Yai and Koh Kaew Noi.
Finally, at 11:30am Monday (Aug 22), a Navy sailor on Tor 233 spotted Mr Ekarat through his binoculars. Mr Ekarat was standing on a rocky outcrop on Koh Kaew Noi waving his orange life vest in the air.
The Siri Namchok 12 was brought as close as it safely could to shore in the heavy swell, with Mr Ekarat having to swim out to the boat to be brought on board.
Mr Ekarat was then transferred to the Tor 233, which rendezvoused with the RTMS Klaeng, where he was given a meal and brought back to the Navy pier at Cape Panwa.
Mr Ekarat was fatigued and had suffered minor cuts and bruises to his body, but was otherwise in good health.
Regardless, once onshore Phuket, he was taken to Vachira Phuket Hospital for further treatment.
Mr Ekarat explained that the strong waves had dislodged a large ice box on deck, which slid and knocked him overboard.
He had called out to his crewmates from the water, but to no avail, and eventually decided to swim to the island.
* CORRECTION: Not Monday. The error is regretted.