Thai soccer team to get internet inside Chiang Rai cave

Marcus Newton
July 6, 2018

The threat of rainfall is forcing rescue teams to revise an exit plan for the 12 young footballers and their coach who may have to be brought out of the partially flooded Tham Luang cave before their physical condition is fully restored. He was said to be in his 30s.

Chiang Rai Gov. Narongsak Osotthanakorn has repeatedly insisted that the boys safety's must be 100 percent guaranteed before any extraction can begin. "He did not have enough on his way back".

Divers from China helping with the rescue effort in the Tham Luang cave complex on Tuesday.

A map of the rescue site.

With these factors in mind, Thai Navy SEALs are now rushing to teach the adolescents how to properly dive.

Photo taken on July 4, 2018 shows friends of the 12 trapped boys singing a song outside of a cave where 12 youth soccer players and their coach are trapped inside, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand.

Rescuers work on a plan to extract 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped inside the Tham Luang Nang Non cave, Chiang Rai province, Thailand.Rescuers work on a plan to extract 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped inside Tham Luang Nang Non cave, Chiang Rai province, Thailand.

"The floodwater level has been dropping by one centimetre per hour. And now we are working against water", Osottanakorn said.

'What we worry most is the weather, ' Mr Osatanakorn said.

"We are calculating how much time we have it if rains, how many hours and days", he said.

It now takes rescuers, who are seasoned cave diving experts, about six hours to reach the ledge where the boys are holding out.

One of the children would volunteer to go first and then pictures could be shown to the rest of the group to prove that he had arrived at the other end.

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"Cave diving is incredibly unsafe for people who are very experienced doing it".

They've got access to really good equipment and they've got some good technology, but not necessarily cave-diving-specific technology.

Many, if not all, of the boys reportedly do not know how to swim.

In a video released by the Thai navy, several of the boys are treated for minor cuts on their feet and legs, but otherwise appear in good spirits.

"Yesterday I felt hopeful. today I heard the rain is coming", said Sunida Wongsukchan, great aunt of one of the boys Ekkarat Wongsukchan, 14, who goes by the nickname "Bew". They have enlisted the help of bird-watchers, who are specialists in finding hidden holes, the AFP news agency reports.

Authorities still hope they can manage any fresh deluge, with high-powered pumps draining 128 million litres of water so far from the cave.

He said the rescue teams are anxious about the water level in the cave and make calculations to determine the risk if more rain comes down and raises it further.

But before the group, trapped since June 23, can be reunited with their families, they will have to contend with debris clogging some of the passage ways back to the cave's entrance and high water levels that might require them to use scuba diving gear, despite no previous training.

Heavy rains are expected to lash northern Thailand for weeks, soaking through the mountain and filling up the cave as fast as - or even faster than - water can be drained.

The third chamber of the cave, which is about two kilometres from the entrance, is now operating as the forward command of the rescue operations.

But that option is a last resort and may have to be taken off the table if flooding worsens.

Now, attention has shifted to the next extraordinary challenge: How can they be evacuated safely from the spot where they are trapped, deep in the flooded cave?

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