Members of this close community in Mae Sai, northern Thailand, know that the return of seasonal monsoon rains will complicate any attempt to rescue the boys stranded deep in the tunnel network 14 days ago after a sudden torrent
The Thai authorities know that too.
The monsoon season usually lasts from July to October. During this time, the water level in Mae Sai, which lies on Thailand's mountainous border with Myanmar, can rise rapidly, flood agricultural land and cut down whole villages.
The caves of Tham Luang Nang Non, where the cubs are trapped, are the city's natural drainage basin during this period of heavy rains.
The boys and their 25-year-old carriage are currently crammed into a small chamber four kilometers (2.5 miles) inside the cave network, with a limited supply of
In order to reach them, experienced divers must carefully navigate through jagged passages and occasionally rejuvenate to the width of a person so that divers have to take their breathing tanks off their backs and penetrate like a pencil, taking care not to pinch their wetsuit. The tunnels are pitch-dark. The water is muddy and cold. The whole trip can take up to six hours
For nearly two weeks, the authorities have been pumping water out of the caves 24 hours a day. This is the amount of recovered water that has transformed entire fields in the area into lakes.
The shores along the road leading to the cave's entrance are now a freshwater stream used every morning by exhausted rescue workers.
Earlier in the week, efforts to lower the water level triggered optimism. During a press conference on Thursday, a Thai official suggested that the children might even "go out".
Such hopes have now disappeared, replacing instead with an increasing sense of urgency. The people in the large, makeshift camp now surrounding the caves compare mood with hostage-taking.
Dark clouds drift overhead over them. Weather forecasts predict heavy rains on Saturday nights and during the week
The chamber containing the boys is no longer safe. Even if they are given enough food to wait for the rainy season, there is no guarantee that the ledge on which they are sitting will not be submerged.
There are no easy decisions. However, since a flood is expected in the coming days, a decision must be made in the near future.
"The teams there will have a turning point where they have to call to get them out would almost certainly lead to drowning," said a British mining engineer and experienced cave diver, who did not want to be named because of the sensitivity of the subject ,
"The turning point is related to how much rain begins to fall, water levels inside, compared to the boys, they will look at the flow rates, the rain in recent weeks, months to get a rough indication of this Where they are, they have a deadline Keeping track of the most unpopular way out, "he added.
Every day, the rescuers in the camp talk about different strategies. Drilling holes, expanding tunnels, pumping out water
Earlier this week, the authorities announced that the boys, the youngest of whom was just 11 years old, hoped that they would be able to make a crash. Courses
Although risky, friends and family had warmed to the idea, encouraged by news that diving teams from around the world had arrived on site to share their expertise. […] The Prasitsart School had excitedly talked about their friends, who were courageous and safe with the help of foreign divers.
It would be "no problem," they assured us, their friends were more than capable, and besides they have the best divers (19659002) On Friday, this option seemed to fade with the news that a former Thai naval SEAL, the volunteered for the rescue effort when swimming through the cave passages had died
No one in Mae Sai is prepared to think the worst, let alone say it out loud. But the mood in the community starts to shift as the reality of the situation becomes more prevalent.
In a school attended by one of the missing children, a teacher asked how the boys could make a journey that was too difficult for them, even a former Thai Marine SEAL?
News that some of the boys, especially the younger ones, are suffering from malnutrition has added to these fears.
In the main market of the city, where TVs constantly stay tuned to the news, people chatted nervously of the need to find other options. Sure, they can drill an opening on the roof of the cave, they asked.
A WhatsApp group chat popular with some of the older schoolchildren in town said a famous American engineer named Elon Musk was sending help. Maybe that would prove the difference.
But it is the families of the children who feel these questions the most.
In Anubanmaesai Elementary School, where the youngest of the 12 missing boys, the 11-year-old Chanin Wiboonrongraing, is in his senior year, The headmaster spoke of his concern for the boy's parents.
"I am afraid that parents will start to think that their son will do the same," said Radap Tate of Navy SEAL's death on Friday. 19659007] 11-year-old Chanin Wiboonrongraing is in his senior year at Anubanmaesai Elementary School in Mae Sai. "src-mini =" // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180707161145-01-chanin-wiboonrongraing-thai-boy-small-169.jpg "src-xsmall =" // cdn.cnn.com /cnnnext/dam/assets/180707161145-01-chanin-wiboonrongraing-thai-boy-medium-plus-169.jpg "src-small =" http://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180707161145- 01-chanin-wiboonrongraing-thai-boy-large-169.jpg "src-medium =" // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180707161145-01-chanin-wiboonrongraing-thai-boy-exlarge-169 .jpg "src-large =" // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180707161145-01-chanin-wiboonrongraing-thai-boy-super-169.jpg "src-full16x9 =" // cdn.cnn .com / cnnnext / dam / assets / 180707161145-01-chanin-wiboonrongraing-thai-boy-full-169.jpg "src-mini1x1 =" // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180707161145-01- chanin-wiboonrongraing-thai-boy-small-11.jpg "data-demand-load =" not-loaded "data-eq-pts =" mini: 0, xsmall: 221, small: 308, medium: 461, large: 781 "/>