Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Trapped in a Thai cave: The long rescue process

Luang Rescue Operation Center Thai rescue teams walk inside cave complex where 12 boys and their soccer coach went missing in Mae Sai Chiang Rai province in northern Thailand Monday Missing Thai soccer team found in a cave after nine days
Pablo Mccormick | 03 July, 2018, 11:18

(Tham Luang Rescue Operation Center via AP) In this handout photo released by Tham Luang Rescue Operation Center, Thai rescue teams walk inside cave complex where 12 boys and their soccer coach went missing, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand, Monday, July 2, 2018. Every report from the ground says that while work continues without pause, they are all incredibly relieved to have found the boys.

Provincial governor Narongsak Osatanakorn said they had been found safe but "the operation isn't over".

Efforts to rescue the 13 have captivated Thailand.

"If the doctors say their physical condition is strong enough to be moved, they will take them out from the cave", he said.

- Their 25-year-old assistant coach, Ekkapol Janthawong, is known to have occasionally taken them out on day trips - including a trip to the same cave two years ago. "You have been here - 10 days".

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When a Thai military official announced the rescue at a base camp near the mouth of the cave, loud cheers went up from the searchers, who had been praying and working feverishly for such an outcome.

Thailand's prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has thanked the global experts who assisted in the search.

Despite the peril ahead, families and friends, some of whom have maintained a constant vigil outside the cave, hugged each other and cheered at the news.

Hundreds of soldiers (above), groups and volunteers laboured for a week to supply the forward teams of Royal Thai Navy and foreign divers and cave-exploring experts to finally reach the trapped boys and their coach on Monday.

He says that "if the dives are hard then supply will be hard, but the risk of trying to dive them out is also exponentially greater". "We need to do more preparation".

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In the course of their search they were repeatedly blocked by rising water that filled sections of the cave and forced them to withdraw for safety reasons.

He added: "If the dives are hard then supply will be hard, but the risk of trying to dive them out is also exponentially greater".

Thai schoolchildren and their teachers pray on Monday for classmates who went missing June 23 inside the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai.

The system of passageway of the cave to the team is complicated and hard for divers to navigate, making extraction challenging. The Thai SEALs and later their support teams had been diving around the clock since 2 a.m. Monday in nearly impossible conditions.

Over 1000 people have been involved in the effort to save the children, with teams from countries all over Asia, plus the U.S., Australia and the UK.

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"Supplying them on site may face challenges depending on how hard the dives are, " Mirza told the Associated Press in an e-mail on Monday.

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