Rescuers Should Learn From British Cave Team

Heather Diaz
July 4, 2018

The 13, who disappeared when flooding trapped them in the cave they were exploring on June 23 after a soccer game, were found by rescue divers late Monday night in the cavern in northern Chiang Rai province during a desperate search. The boys are stuck inside a flooded cave network, and will either have to learn to dive or will have to wait months for the caves to drain, according to CNN. That food would last the team until October, which is when the monsoon season officially ends.

Authorities are also pumping out water round-the-clock aware of the bad weather forecast in the days ahead. Diving gear will be used.

"Diving is not easy".

Narongsak said earlier the passageway goes upward in some places and downward in others and is very narrow, making it hard for divers and their gear to fit through.

The Thai military has confirmed that they are preparing for long-term food supplies and diving training for the group. "If the gear is lost at any moment, it can be risky to life".

Dozens of local and foreign rescuers, including a team of Navy divers and several cave experts, had spent the past few days helping to locate the team, but rising and muddy waters showing no signs of receding have stymied efforts and blocked access to chambers of the cave.

Bringing the trapped boys to safety is an extremely unsafe task given the conditions inside.

The final attempts will involve the assistance of a Navy SEAL team, says Chiang Rai Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn.

Red denotes "critical" condition and yellow is classed as "serious". But maybe the rescue team could look into it. A first meal is being prepared for the group to be sent down in sealed pouches, with the team having already received energy gel sachets and paracetamol. We have to dive.

Mr Mitchell said the trip to get out of the cave takes about three hours for experienced divers.

Thailand is now in the midst of its monsoon season, and while Monday was relatively dry, the rains returned on Tuesday.

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But the vast physical challenge of swimming to safety may be too much for the weak and exhausted young boys - it took skilled Navy SEAL diver about six hours to navigate the narrow, mud-clogged underwater passages that led to the team's location.

Cave rescue experts have said it could be safer to simply supply them where they are for now, rather than trying to have the boys dive out.

"If they can handle that for a period of time, then see how they go before you venture into that overhead environment", he said.

"The risks to those children coming out is that they don't have that experience and I gather that some of them, if not all of them, aren't even swimmers", Whitehouse told ABC News.

They will also need to wear sunglasses after exiting the cave because they've been in darkness for so long, Chiang Rai's public health inspector-general told the Bangkok Post. He said they would be brought out when they were mentally ready and physically fit for the potentially punishing journey home.

Despite the obvious challenges still facing the stricken soccer, the hope of rescue has brought joy to numerous families.

One boy asked if he could have some food.

"Thank you", responded one of the boys. "If something goes wrong 10 kilometers down an underwater tunnel, you usually have until your air runs out to find a solution or make your peace". "You are very strong".

After an initial exchange in which a rescuer determines that all 13 are present, one of the boys asked what day it was, and a rescuer replied: "Monday".

Edd Sorenson, of International Cave Rescue and Recovery, told BBC News that swimming out of the cave is "extremely dangerous" and it would be safer for the boys to wait because they may panic in the water.

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