Thai rescuers race to drain water from cave before rain

09 July, 2018, 07:18 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • Rescue personnel arrive as rescue operations continue for 12 boys and their coach trapped at Tham Luang cave at Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province

Narongsak Osottanakorn said that after that, further rains could imperil the group. "We are afraid of the weather and the oxygen in the cave, but we have to try to set the plan and find out which is the best (way)".

In a possible new bid for a solution, engineers working for the entrepreneur Elon Musk will be sent to Thailand.

One of his enterprises is Boring Company, which digs tunnels for advanced transport systems and has advanced ground-penetrating radar. Their flashlights would sometimes go out after a few hours but Queue was never scared -even when it was pitch black and there were "many" bats - because they were with their coach, he said.

Asked at news conference early on Saturday about bringing the boys out underwater, the governor replied: "Not today because they can not dive at this time". Earlier efforts to pump out water from the cave have been set back every time there has been a heavy downpour. "But we can't wait for the rain". "The boys are ready to face any challenges", rescue chief Narongsak added. It was the first fatality in a rescue effort that has drawn divers and volunteers from several countries and captivated people around the globe.

A total of seven pages were posted on the Thai Navy SEALs Facebook page, with messages apparently from each of the boys - aged 11 to 16 - and their 25-year-old coach. He was found unconscious around 1 a.m. Friday and transferred to a hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.

Narongsak said experts told him flooding from new rain could shrink the unflooded space where the boys are sheltering to just 10 square meters (108 square feet).

The Thai boys trapped deep inside a partially flooded cave will be evacuated alongside experienced scuba divers in what is being called a "buddy dive".

The diver was identified as Saman Kunam.

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Thai officials were studying the 2010 rescue of 33 miners who were trapped when a copper mine collapsed in Chile, and brought to the surface by a capsule through a specially drilled borehole. A video surfaced Friday of him waiting to board a plane from Bangkok to Chiang Rai, announcing proudly that he was going to "bring the kids home". Queue said he wouldn't even always tell his mother when he visited the cave, giving off the impression that the hike wasn't considered particularly unsafe.

"Despite this, we will continue until we accomplish our mission", Arpakorn vowed.

The group has been trapped more than 4km inside the cave in northern Thailand since June 23.

The head of the rescue mission for 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach says "conditions are perfect" for a rescue mission to free the young men from a flooded cave where they are trapped.

Thailand's Navy SEAL commander says oxygen levels inside have dropped.

Gong Hui, a Chinese diver involved in the operation that has drawn some 130 Thai and global divers, told Reuters on Saturday before the fresh rains that water levels in the cave had "receded a lot" after sustained pumping had removed millions of litres of water. Occasional light showers continued through the night but this morning there was no rain. Food, electrolyte drinks, drinking water, medicine and oxygen canisters have been delivered to them.

Rescuers are also pursuing other options to extract the boys, hoping that finding a shaft or drilling into the mountain in which the cave is located will lead them to a sort of backdoor entrance.

The warning came a day after a Thai diver died during part of the rescue operation, a deadly turn in what started out as a celebration of one of the boys' birthdays at the Tham Luang cave complex in northern Chiang Rai province. Queue said he had visited the cave four times this year, always with their coach.



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