Rescue and Search Operation Continues At Day 8
Thai authorities and international rescue teams are determined to continue the massive search and rescue operations for 12 young soccer players and their coach who remain trapped in a flooded Tham Luang Nang Non cave in northern Thailand.
Bad weather has hampered the operation but the group of almost 1,000 rescuers are hopeful that the group of young players will be rescued from the flooded passage of the cave and pouring rains.
What started as community rescue efforts became an international collaboration of local rescue groups and foreign survival and rescue experts. In fact, more than 1,000 rescuers have been involved in the search, including a U.S. military search and rescue team. There are professional cave divers from the U.K. and also Thai Navy Seals involved.
Racing against time, hundreds of soldiers, civilians and foreign experts tried to penetrate the cave’s large inner chamber from every angle they could find.
“We will stay until we find them,” says Captain Wuttichai, who oversees the team of Thai Navy SEALS that have been trying to reach them since Sunday. “They’re healthy, they’re young,” he tells TIME, confident of the group’s survival, “and besides, they are athletes.”
Tham Luang, Thailand’s longest cave and a popular tourist site, is said to be a labyrinth, miles of passageways and tunnels running underground. The cave can flood up to 5 meters during the country’s rainy season, which runs from June to October.
Rescuers suspect the boys are at the back of the cave. As the rain continues, the cave fills up, not from the entrance, but from the back of the cave, where the team is suspected to be. Rescue teams continue to pump water out of the cave system.
The rescuers say they don’t have enough oxygen to reach the back area of the cave system. There are four chambers, and the SEALs have been through three of the chambers. But they don’t have enough oxygen to pass through the fourth chamber. This is the reason they need to pump out the water.
This was first reported by Coconuts.co.
The Lost Boys and The Coach
After a soccer practice, the 12 soccer players of Wild Boars, accompanied by their young coach went inside the cave complex of Tham Luang. It was not their first time to wander around the tourist site. Clear skies may have encouraged them to navigate the cave, but the weather turned bad as rain continued to pour and flooded the cave. Many speculated that the boys were trapped inside the cave and it was too late for them to get out.
When local responders and families went to the cave to search for the young boys, they found backpacks, shoes and bicycles scattered in the entrance of the cave.
The players’ ages range between 11 and 16 and came from various schools in the province.