Published: Wed, July 04, 2018
Sport | By Floyd Cook

Thailand weighs rescue options as football team gets aid

Thailand weighs rescue options as football team gets aid

Attempts were being made to install power and telephone lines inside the cave to let the boys speak with their parents, Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osotthanakon said. But the murky water is hard to navigate even for experienced divers.

The British Cave Rescue Council, which has members taking part in the operation, said in a statement that "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".

"Many people are coming", the rescuer tells the group.

The search for the group had gripped the nation as it was unclear where they were or whether they even were still alive.

The boys, ages 11 to 16, and their coach, 25, disappeared June 23 after entering the flooded Tham Luang Nang Non cave in a national park in Chiang Rai.

The boys were discovered at about 10:00 pm Monday by British divers some 400 meters (1,300 feet) from where they were believed to be stranded several kilometers inside the cave. "In these 10 days, how many million seconds have there been? We hope we can help", said Wang Lin, the head of the group.

But the days-long rescue operation isn't over, as rescuers still need to figure out how to get the team out of the cave.

At Mae Sai Prasitsart school, where six of the missing boys studied, special prayers were held for the junior soccer team during the morning assembly on Monday.

"We will look after them until they can return to school".

"From chamber three to the intersection and then onto Pattaya Beach, this area is all flooded and dark", Apakorn said.

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Sky News' Lisa Holland, who is at the scene, said: "We have been told by a teacher at a school where half of the boys go to (that) the boys have been found and that they are alive but they are very weak".

Rescuers had been working on Monday to clear a constricted passageway for divers deep inside the flooded cave complex in a search operation that has been hampered by heavy rain.

Authorities said efforts would also continue outside the cave, where teams have been scouring the mountainside in search of other entrances to the caverns below.

Yesterday, unofficially, we assessed that most are in the green category, " said Chiang Rai provincial Governor Narongsak Osatanakorn. They must be able to use diving gear.

Water levels in the cave are expected to rise as the summer goes on, as Thailand's rainy season usually lasts from May until October.

"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.

Teams have also been combing the mountainside looking for fissure that might lead to shafts.

Australian police and military personnel were deployed Saturday to join other multinational teams, including US military personnel and experts from a British cave exploration club.

If they are to wait until the water recedes by itself, it would mean the boys will have to stay in the cave for months and have to be continuously supplied with food and assistance.

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