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Thailand Cave Rescue: Search Teams Unsure How To Free Trapped Boys

3 July 2018 International News News

The initial relief that greeted the dramatic discovery of the trapped Thai soccer team has given way to concern, as rescuers begin the difficult task of attempting to free the 12 boys and their coach from deep inside the flooded cave network.

Video shared by the Thai Navy SEALs shows the boys, who were found alive by British divers in the early hours of Monday evening, huddled together on a small patch of dry ground, surrounded by water in a cramped, pitch-black chamber.
“It is estimated that the boys are around two kilometers (1.2 miles) into the cave and somewhere between 800 meters to one kilometer (0.6 miles) below the surface,” said Bill Whitehouse, vice chairman, British Cave Rescue Council, whose organization has helped spearhead the search of the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system in northern Thailand.
But as the search operation enters into the next phase, options for rescuers appear limited. The area in which the group remains stranded is only accessible via a narrow, flooded channel, and attempts to pump water from the cave, or find a natural opening in the roof of the chamber, have so far proved unsuccessful.

How long can they wait?

Capt. Akanand Surawan, a commander with the Royal Thai Navy, said authorities would now supply the group with four months’ worth of food and begin teaching the boys how to scuba dive.
Surawan’s reference to four months has been interpreted as a potential sign that authorities are considering waiting until after the rainy season ends in October to begin the rescue operation.
But with heavy rain expected to continue in the coming days, rising water levels could force rescuers to act sooner rather than later.
“We believe that there is only a short break in the monsoon and all feasible options for the rescue of the boys are being considered,” Whitehouse said in a statement.

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