Cave-Diving Expert Explains Thailand Rescue

Cave-Diving Expert Explains Thailand Rescue

Cave-Diving Expert Explains Thailand Rescue

A youth soccer team and its coach spent a 12th day huddled in a damp cave Wednesday in northern Thailand as rescuers worked to come up with a plan to save them.

Rescuers braced for a hard evacuation for 13 members of a Thai youth football team found alive in a cave nine days after they went missing, as a phone cable was hurriedly fed into the underground chambers in the hope of allowing them to speak to their families for the first time since their ordeal began.

They went missing after they set out to explore the cave on June 23.

While efforts to pump out floodwaters are continuing, some Thai officials have indicated that heavy rains forecast for this weekend could force them to decide the boys should swim and dive out using the same complicated route of narrow passageways through which their rescuers entered.

That contingency, which is considered risky by many experts, would see the boys dive through the narrow flooded tunnels in full-face diving masks.

While efforts to remove enough water from the caves to allow the stranded team to simply walk out are ongoing, Thai Navy SEALs who were able to reach the boys are teaching them how to scuba dive. "You are very strong".

Mr Srisamu said: 'He used his knowledge of the cave to calculate where the group was mostly likely to be. "Extracting the children takes a lot of people", Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan told reporters.

The British divers who found the squad said it took three hours to reach them, as they faced fast-moving currents and had to pull themselves along cave walls.

He also thanked global experts who helped find the boys.

Chiang Rai provincial Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn said Wednesday that while the team has been practicing with masks, he doesn't believe they have attempted any practice dives. "If the condition is right and if that person is ready 100%, he can come out".

As part of a desperate attempt to save the boys, Thai authorities are also trying to confirm whether there is a secret passage to safety. On Monday night, experienced cave divers from Britain found the missing football team at a spot about 5km from the cave's entrance.

With monsoon season typically lasting until October, that could still take months.


It's also possible that conditions inside the cave could change.

Some appeared to be wearing a change of clothes since they were found late on Monday and most were wrapped in foil warming blankets.

In this July 3, 2018, image taken from video provided by the Thai Navy Seal, Thai boys are with Navy SEALs inside the cave, Mae Sai, northern Thailand.

In the video, as a light is shone on each boy's face they address the camera with head bowed and hands clasped together in a Thai prayer-like greeting known as "wai".

The team have received messages of support from well-wishers around the world - including those who have direct experience of being trapped underground.

Edd Sorenson, of International Cave Rescue and Recovery, warned that swimming out of the cave would be "extremely dangerous" and that the boys might panic.

"Today the most important thing is to get the air tube into the cave", he said.

Tham Chanthawong, the aunt of the 25-year old coach Ekapol Chanthawong, said that prior to becoming a football coach, her nephew spent a decade as a saffron-robed Buddhist monk.

"It's like he has been given a new life", she said, adding that she'll never let her son go into a cave or near water again.

Sepulveda was one of 33 miners rescued after spending 69 days trapped more than 2,000 feet underground.

They are also cooperating with Thai Navy colleagues and the wider global dive teams to stock dive tanks and other equipment throughout the route to aid the eventual evacuation of the isolated cavern.

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