PETALING JAYA, Mar 5 — A group of Thai sailors have been hailed as heroes after rescuing four cats from drowning on a sinking ship.
Reuters reported that the human crew had evacuated the boat shortly after it caught fire near the Thai island of Koh Adang on Tuesday.
A group of navy officials who were scouting the site for oil spills however realised that a few ‘crew members’ had been left behind in the chaos.
First-class petty officer of the navy’s air and coastal defence division Wichit Pukdeelon said he spotted the felines huddling together on a wooden beam as the ship sank lower and lower into the waves.
“I used my camera to zoom in to the boat, and I saw one or two cats popping their heads out,” he said.
Sailor Thatsaphon Saii then acted quickly by taking off his shirt, donning a life vest, and diving into the Andaman Sea to rescue the cats.
The Sun reported that the 23-year-old placed three of the felines into an old rice sack and the remaining one on his shoulders before swimming back to safety.
“The flames were at the back of the boat but it was starting to sink, so I knew I had to be quick.
“I’m so relieved that we were able to save the kittens.
“They would have drowned or died of thirst if they went into the sea,” Saii was quoted as saying.
The four-legged survivors reportedly suffered no injuries and are being looked after by the sailors at their command post in Koh Lipe.
Photos of the dramatic rescue posted by Pukdeelon on Facebook won over social media users who praised the men for saving the cats from a watery death.
A video of the sailors playing with the felines also melted the hearts of animal lovers.
“So awesome! Thank you for saving them,” wrote Mary Hughes.
“Wishing all the navy officers prosperity and happiness in everything,” said Odette Ana.
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