Rescue of boys trapped in Thai cave could take months, military warns

Navy brings food supplies to wait out rainy season and considers giving boys scuba training

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Rescuers find Thai boys who were trapped in cave for nine days – video

The 12 boys and their football coach found alive in a Thailand cave could be stuck there for months, the country’s military has said as it prepares to bring in long-term food supplies and diving training for the stranded group.

A team of two British divers found the team in the flooded cave system in Thailand’s Chiang Rai province, nine days after the boys aged 11 to 16 and their 25 year-old coach went missing. Their story of resilience under dire circumstances has captivated people around the world.

However, bringing the boys and their coach up to the surface is a complicated task. Engineers have been pumping water out of the cave for a week, and a temporary respite from the rains has also lowered water levels. By Tuesday they were removing 10,000 litres of water an hour, lowering the water level by a centimetre every hour.

https://interactive.guim.co.uk/uploader/embed/2018/07/thai-cave/giv-3902BkFtFXLvMuBQ/

But heavy precipitation expected in the coming days, as the rainy season begins, could severely hamper rescue efforts and the boys might have to wait as long as several months for the waters to recede to safe levels.

Thai navy captain Anand Surawan said: “[We will] prepare to send additional food to be sustained for at least four months and train all 13 to dive while continuing to drain the water.”

Peter Wolf, the national director of the Cave Divers Association of Australia, said: “The best option is to leave them where they are and stabilise their environment to make sure the core ingredients are met. Given the environment is pretty wet, to keep them warm and dry, provide them with clean drinking water, food, and clean air.

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Categories: Asia, Thailand

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