Why so long to rescue trapped Thai soccer team?

Ross Houston
July 4, 2018

A pair of British divers assisting the Thai SEALs found them some 1,300 feet further into the complex after discovering Pattaya was also flooded.

Officials say they have performed an informal medical evaluation, and determined that most of the boys are in stable condition.

Rescuers are now battling rising water to bring more supplies to the group. They completed the hard journey to find Pattaya Beach flooded, so swam on and found the boys about 400m away. Other options included teaching the group to use diving gear to navigate the flooded cave.

With the rainy season likely to last for a few more months, the team may need to have food sent for the next four months, military officials said. "And now you're looking at taking people who have no experience or very little experience with diving and putting them into a complete blackout situation, where they have to rely on a regulator and the tanks with them to breathe", Anmar Mirza, a cave rescue expert, told CNN.

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

Once extracted, the boys and their coach will be transferred to Chiang Rai Region General Hospital, where the entire 8th floor is being held for their arrival. It's unclear how they survived but the rescuers dropped food through the holes of the cave, hoping the victims would find it. When were they found?

It would be a risky attempt, since none of the boys know how to swim. "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".

Thais across the country, who have been following every twist of the nine-day long saga, reacted to Monday night's news with joy and relief. They also were keen to get some food.

In the 5-minute video, the boys are quiet as they sit on their haunches, legs bent in front of them. "I want to tell him I'm still here waiting", Kieng Khamleu, said of her son Pornchai Khamleung inside the cave. "They have not yet reached 'the (Pattaya) beach, '" Narongsak said.

"The media missed the chance to educate Thai people about the cave", Pipob said.

A group of Thai soccer players, between the ages of 11 and 16, and their 25-year-old coach hiked into the cave complex after practice 10 days ago. They had been exploring the cave network with their soccer coach on June 23, when heavy seasonal rains flooded the cave's entrance. In the meantime, professional divers are highlighting how hard any rescue would be by battling the hard conditions in order to bring the boys food and medicine. They are clad in the uniforms they apparently were wearing on the morning they disappeared in the cave.

"Supplying them on site may face challenges depending on how hard the dives are", Mirza, coordinator of the U.S. National Cave Rescue Commission, said in an email. Medics have descended to assess their health status since they looked weak to the British divers who discovered them on an elevated rock where they took refuge.

Joining the British are other experts from around the world and teams from the U.S., Australia, China and elsewhere.

Rescuers are closely watching the forecast, which calls for more rain over the weekend.

"If something goes wrong 10 kilometres down an underwater tunnel, you usually have until your air runs out to find a solution or make your peace".

Other reports by iNewsToday