Thai rescuers race to drain water inside cave before more rain comes

06 July, 2018, 00:36 | Author: Carlos George
  • Agonising rescue ahead for Thai cave boys as nation rejoices

The soccer team and their coach were trapped in Tham Luang Nang Non cave when they chose to explore it following a game on June 23.

"We are assessing weather conditions, if it rains and water level rises, how many hours, days do we have?" he said.

One major challenge will be a "crisis" point marked on the Thai Navy's map of the cave - an area where rescuers say the cave dips - and debris, mud and water pools, which require constant clearing.

Rescue workers work next to water pumped out of Tham Luang cave complex, in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand, July 5, 2018. "It's about 11 hours - six on the way from the entrance to where the kids are and five on the way back", he said.

"I have no doubt that if the government of the country puts in everything and makes all possible efforts, this rescue will be successful", he said.

Japanese Football Association president Kohzo Tashiima afterward praised the national team for sending the public message of support, saying "Japanese players have grown to be able to do these kinds of things naturally, and I realize that Japanese soccer is becoming mature".

"There's a British dry cave geologist that told us 'listen, you have to go there, drop down, otherwise you won't find it, go left".

The boys were discovered at about 10:00pm (1500 GMT) on Monday by British divers some 400 metres (1,300 feet) from where they were believed to be stranded several kilometres inside the cave.

While rescuers have started teaching the boys some basic skills, experienced divers are wary of taking boys out through the cave's dark and unsafe waters.

They are being looked after by seven members of the Thai navy SEALs, including medics, who were staying with them in the cave.

Meanwhile, authorities are continuing to try to pump water out of the cave but with more rains in the forecast, the children might need to use diving gear while being guided by professional divers, he said.

Kobchai Boonarana, deputy director-general of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation department, said it was up to the rescue team in the cave to decide if and when the boys would be strong enough to tackle the journey out.

Thai authorities have also suggested removing the team in stages, depending on the boys' conditions. "They also learn tactile communication", said Chew, who has done cave dives in China, the Philippines and Mexico.

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But diving experts have warned that the mission is extremely unsafe as the boys can't swim and have never used scuba gear, and the cave's narrow passageways pose a significant challenge for even the best cave divers. "Because that would mean there is livestock nearby or at least a forest which would make an alternative entrance possible".

Options for extracting the soccer team include drilling from the surface to create another exit.

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.

"In the previous days we were fighting with time". Now we're racing against water.

"We are draining out as much as our capacity allows".

Engineers have drained water from portions of the cave, but it is a vast subterranean cavern fed by a broad watershed.

Osottanakorn said rescuers were at the mercy of the rainy season, and may have to act quickly to beat fresh downpours.

After the boys were found, Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osatanakorn said, "We found them safe".

The boys have now received food, foil blankets, and medical attention, and rescuers are trying to run cables through the cave tunnel so they can speak to their families.

Despite efforts to teach the group to dive, authorities believe this would be risky.

A video shared by the Thai Navy captured their first contact.

Rescue teams are working in extremely hard conditions.

Over the past few days, the rescue team consisting of local and foreign divers, cave experts and military personnel, worked together to locate the team.

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