Rescuers Consider Alternative Routes To Save Boys Trapped In Thai Cave

Boys from the under-16 soccer team trapped inside Tham Luang cave greet members of the Thai rescue team in Chiang Rai Thailand

Rescuers Consider Alternative Routes To Save Boys Trapped In Thai Cave

The 12 boys and their coach are seen sitting with Thai Navy SEALs in the dark cave.

On Monday, British divers who were part of an worldwide rescue team found all 12 boys, aged 11 to 16, and their coach alive but hungry in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system.

Parts of a passageway leading to where the boys and coach were found on Monday is still flooded all the way to the ceiling, making diving the only way out.

They have also been shown how to use diving equipment in case they are required to dive in order to get out of the cave.

The group was found to be skinny, but in good health, and have received high-protein drinks as they are treated by the Underwater Demolition Assault Unit.

Mario Sepulveda, who was rescued from a mine in Chile in 2010, recorded a video message saying he had faith the boys would be rescued.

Rescue workers in Thailand have discovered the soccer team that recently went missing in the Tham Luang cave complex, but experts are trying to work through the challenges that remain before they can be extracted and brought to the surface. Authorities have not yet been able to connect a phone line, and a round trip through the winding, waterlogged tunnels between the boys and a rudimentary cave command post that now has a phone takes more than six hours.

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Tham Chanthawong, the aunt of the 25-year old coach Ekapol Chanthawong, said that prior to becoming a football coach, her nephew spent a decade as a saffron-robed Buddhist monk.

She added she would never let her son go into a cave or near water again.

The 12 boys trapped in a flooded cave in northern Thailand are being taught how to swim and dive to prepare them for the possibility that they need to dive their way out, as rescuers raced to pump water from the cave before heavy rain falls as forecast in the coming days.

An alternative to asking the group to make the long dive themselves may be to "literally bring them out in packages", British caver Whitehouse said.

"According to the plan, if we let them dive out, the most unsafe point is extremely narrow, the boys will have to dive by themselves, the water is quite deep and long at that point and the [Thai Navy] SEALs can't be next to them".

With heavy rains forecast for this weekend, the pressure is on to quickly find an escape route before the boys are stuck with rising flood waters.

Chiang Rai provincial Gov Narongsak Osatanakorn said that while the team has been practising with masks, he does not believe they have attempted any practice dives.

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Mr Srisamu said: 'He used his knowledge of the cave to calculate where the group was mostly likely to be.

He said any extraction has to be "100 percent safe".

The boys and their coach were trapped in the cave by a sudden influx of water.

Authorities are evaluating their readiness each day and if there is any risk, will not proceed, he said. "They're drilling holes to actually try and drain water out of the cave".

The boys would need to wear full-face diving masks to enter the narrow tunnels in moving water, though many experts say this would be a risky option for novice divers. Thailand's rainy season typically lasts through October.

The rescue mission is proving to be hard for divers whose efforts are continually hampered by rising water that has filled sections of the cave, often forcing them to halt efforts.

Authorities have been able to drain some of the water from the cave where a Thai soccer team has been trapped for 12 days, which may allow the team to avoid using diving equipment and nearly walk out.

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He said it was awkward, but possible, to teach them minimal skills. "Everyone can be relieved now, as all of them are in the good hands of seven navy Seals", said the Seals commander, Rear-Admiral Arpakorn Yukongkaew. "Creating an environment that can make them safely get away, that's feasible".

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