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Home / World / Efforts to rescue caves in Thailand are on the increase as floods subside

Efforts to rescue caves in Thailand are on the increase as floods subside



Attempt to find 12 boys and their football coach in a cave in Thailand for a week increased on Saturday as a rain break closed floods in the cave system and more prevented experts from around the world to the rescue mission.

The search work in the northern province of Chiang Rai progressed slowly, mainly because floods prevented rescuers from going through chambers to get deeper into the cave.

Pumping out Water has not solved the problem, so there have been increasing efforts to find manholes on the hillside that could serve as a back door to the closed areas where the missing persons could find refuge.

The boys, ages 1

1-16, and their 25-year-old coach entered the sprawling Tham Luang Nang Non Cave after a June 23 football game. Almost constant rains have thwarted the search for them. However, the authorities have expressed the hope that the group has found a dry place in the cave to wait and that they are still alive.

Following this hope, a medical evacuation exercise was held on Saturday morning to see how long it would take to rescue people from the cave, 13 ambulances, and the nearest hospital.

Australian police and military personnel were stationed Saturday to join other multinational teams, including US military personnel and experts from a British speleology club

China has sent a six-member rescue and disaster expert team into the cave, the Chinese said Embassy in Bangkok on Friday. The group has experience in life-saving rescues in Myanmar and Nepal, said the embassy's embassy.

A second private Chinese group calling itself Green Boat Emergency arrived on Saturday. "Our skills are search and rescue on mountains and in caves, we hope we can help," said Wang Xudong, a member of the group.

Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osatanakorn said the sinking water level in the cave had helped bailout significantly.

"Today the situation is much better and we have high hopes and will be here all night," he said early Saturday night.

Thai Navy Seal divers were crucial to the search, but have been hampered by muddy waters that reached the cave ceiling, forcing them to suspend operations again and again.

With water levels, they resumed Saturday dives and reentered a chamber they had retired earlier in the week.

In addition to pumping out the flooded chambers, there were efforts to find the source of the water that flooded the cave to divert or divert it.

Chaiwat Dusadeepanich from the Department of Groundwater Resources said Saturday that his team, which has been drilling for two days, found a small underground water source near the cave.

"But the water flow rate is not big enough," he said. "We would have to drill deeper to get to the source, but at least we found it, and hopefully we can start pumping out well water until the end of today."

The hope for access was great due to crevices on the mountainside, which could lead to shafts in the cave.

"Yesterday, our team climbed into a shaft, and went in about 50 meters (yards)," said National Deputy Chief of Police Wirachai Songmetta. He said the shaft has so far led to two separate chambers

"Today we will re-enter the second chamber we found, trying to find passages that could lead to other chambers," Wirachai said.

Officials said Friday they dropped care packages into the shafts, hoping that the missing persons could retrieve them. Each package contains food, drinks, a telephone, a flashlight, candles, a lighter and a map of the cave.

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Associated Press video journalist Jason Corben in Bangkok contributed to this report.


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