Divers reach further in Thai cave in search of missing footballers

04 July, 2018, 01:30 | Author: Elena Meyer
  • An ethnic Akha woman prays for the return of the missing members of an under-16 soccer team

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.

Power and telephone lines are now being installed inside the cave so the missing youths can speak with their parents, Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osotthanakon said. It was most likely dry when they entered, but rushing waters later clogged the way back with mud and debris.

Dozens of local and foreign rescuers, including a team of Navy divers and several cave experts, had spent the past few days helping to locate the team, but rising and muddy waters showing no signs of receding have stymied efforts and blocked access to chambers of the cave.

"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", The British Cave Rescue Council said.

Pipob Udomittipong, foreign affairs commentator, said he was unsurprised the small foreign team discovered the group first instead of Thai rescuers - comprised of hundreds of officers.

The children, who are aged between 11 and 16, had become trapped in the Tham Luang caves in Chiang Rai after heavy rain triggered a flash flood that prevented them escaping through a narrow tunnel. "Brilliant", one of the British rescuers responded as the boys confirmed that all 13 team members were present and accounted for, reports CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy.

"You have been here for 10 days, you are very strong". "We lack special skills and unique equipment for cave searches", Pipob said Tuesday.

This comes after a massive search and rescue operation in the Tham Luang caves in Chiang Rai.

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

Divers located the group in a chamber on higher ground deep inside the partially flooded cave. In order to get them out ahead of the bad weather forecast for later in the week, they might need to use diving gear while being guided by professional divers, he said.

Rescuers are now working to pull the weakened team from the cave safely.

"The specialty we have been able to deploy has been very useful to to the Thai authorities and has been very welcomed there".

The cave system is at least four miles long and waters can reach 5 metres (16 feet) during the rainy season, from June through October, Police Col. Kam Saardluan told the AP.

So do not worry, we will take care of them with our best.

"Now we have given food to the boys, starting with food that is easy to digest and provides high energy", Thai Navy Seal Chief Rear Adm. Aphakorn Yoo-kongkaew told reporters at a news conference on July 3. An official Australian group has followed a USA military team, British cave experts, Chinese lifesaving responders and several other volunteer groups from various countries. Several fissures were found and teams have explored some, though none led to the missing group. "The Royal Thai Government and the Thai people are grateful for this support and cooperation, and we all wish the team a safe and speedy recovery".

The group's health was assessed overnight by medical teams which will continue to check the health of the group on Monday, said Narongsak, explaining that the boys had sustained light injuries.

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