Sunday, 22 July, 2018

Thailand cave rescue efforts for trapped teenage soccer team pick up

An ethnic Akha woman prays for the return of the missing members of an under-16 soccer team An ethnic Akha woman prays for the return of the missing members of an under-16 football team Credit Reuters
Domingo Copeland | 04 July, 2018, 01:33

Twelve boys and their assistant soccer coach have been found alive by rescuers inside a Thai cave complex nine days after they went missing, Chiang Rai province's governor said on Monday.

Now that rescuers have found the boys alive and in good condition, they are giving them high protein liquid food and antibiotics. To leave the cave, they may need to learn to dive or wait months for the flooding to recede. The system of passageway of the cave to the team is complicated and hard for divers to navigate, making extraction challenging. "Although water levels have dropped, the diving conditions remain hard and any attempt to dive the boys and their coach out will not be taken lightly because there are significant technical challenges and risks to consider".

Rescuers are pumping water in huge volumes out of the cave, fully aware that more rain is scheduled over the coming few days.

The boys aged 11-16, and their 25-year-old coach, reportedly entered the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai province more than a week ago. Someone asks what day it is, and the rescuer responds, "Monday".

"You have been here for 10 days, you are very strong".

"We surveyed all areas and there were reported to be about 20, and out of that there are about 10 with the possibility of having shafts", Gov. Narongsak said.

More than a week after their disappearance, 12 boys and their coach were rescued from a cave in Thailand on Monday in the final development of a rescue mission that has gripped the entire country-and the world-amid the World Cup matches.

Medical teams were seen preparing first aid kits after news of the group's discovery broke outside the cave's entrance.

"If you ask me now while we are still assessing all sides then I don't think they will be home soon", Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters.

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The divers' goal is to get to an area of the cave known as Pattaya Beach.

"If we had to choose between green as the best, yellow, and red the worst, they look to be green", Narongsak said.

Divers have thus far been thwarted by muddy water rising up in sections of the cave and forcing rescuers to withdraw over safety concerns, The Associated Press reports.

He said other efforts will continue, such as draining water from the cave and exploring the mountainside for shafts and other entrances to the caverns below.

Even though the Thai youth football team has been found, their exit from the cave is not looking easy. "And the rainy season has just started here - water levels will rise", he said.

"The Royal Thai Government and the Thai people are grateful for this support and cooperation, and we all wish the team a safe and speedy recovery", Prayuth's office said in a statement.

In the video, posted on the Thai Navy SEAL Facebook page, one of the boys shouts to the rescuers: "we are hungry. shall we go outside?" They would be provided with four months of food, and there are plans to teach the trapped boys how to scuba dive.

The Australian team had joined forces with 11 Chinese rescue experts, up to 32 U.S. forces personnel, three British divers and a British cave expert as well as rescue teams from Myanmar and Laos.

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