Thai authorities weigh cave extraction options

04 July, 2018, 09:34 | Author: Anita Tucker
  • Young boys, coach found deep in Thai cave

Mr. Stanton said, waving a flashlight toward the bedraggled, hungry boys. "13?"

On Monday, twelve missing soccer players and their coach were finally found by a rescue team after being stuck for nine days inside the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai, a province in the north of Thailand. The effort drew global help and has riveted Thailand.

Thai authorities are racing to finalise rescue plans to retrieve 12 boys and their football coach from a Thailand cave before storms forecast for the end of the week, after which an extraction will become "almost impossible" for months, according to one coordinator of the global rescue effort. To get them out ahead of the bad weather forecast for later in the week, they might need to use diving gear while being guided by professional divers, he said on Tuesday.

"Diving is not easy". Rescuers reached the group after enlarging a narrow, submerged passageway that had been too small for them to get through while wearing air tanks.

'Underwater, things happen slowly, ' he once said.

More than 1,000 people have been involved in the rescue operation, including teams from the Thai Navy SEALs, the UK, China, Myanmar, Laos, Australia, Sweden, and the United States.

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Food is being delivered to them, as it may take a long time for them either to learn how to dive or for the flood waters to subside enough for them to be rescued.

"The description in his email was it was a bit of a gnarly dive, which means there were complications and problems", said Bill Whitehouse, the council's vice chairman.

Chiang Rai provincial Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn said the 13 were being rescued, but cautioned that they were not out of danger yet. "Maybe some of the boys have injuries or light injuries and would be categorized as yellow condition".

ABC News foreign correspondent James Longman tweeted that one of the rescuers told him the boys and their coach are weak but not in critical condition.

Areas of the cave remain submerged and the murky waters are very hard to navigate, even if the boys are given good equipment and a crash-course in how to dive.

"It's unimaginable. I've been waiting for 10 days, I never imagined this day would come", the father of one of the boys said. "In these 10 days, how many million seconds have there been?" It was most likely dry when they entered, but rushing waters later clogged the way back with mud and debris.

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Rick Stanton and John Volanthen, two expert cave divers from Britain, found the group about 300-400 meters (yards) past a section of the cave on higher ground that was believed to be where they might have taken shelter.

In both of the videos the boys have appeared in good spirits. They also were keen to get some food.

"You would perhaps have to take one of the strongest out first as a first run and see how that went", he said.

"Taking them in the water would be extremely risky for the kids and the coach - but also for the rescuers". "We are the first", the rescuers reply. The men reported their discovery to Thai authorities running the search, and Thai Navy SEALs have been tending to the soccer team while officials develop plans to extricate the group.

The last option could be protracted as the monsoon begins to bite and officials say they have stored food, medicine and equipment to last for up to four months at an underground base. More food supplies have already been sent to the cave since rescue teams are not certain how long a safe exit could take. "It will seem very bright when they come out into the sunshine. They need another 3 or 4 feet so they can literally float them out with life jackets". Heavy rains are expected to resume this week. They have been joined by teams from seven countries, including the U.S.

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