Trapped Thai soccer team entered cave for 'initiation' ritual, rescuer says

04 July, 2018, 09:32 | Author: Malcolm Quinn
  • Rescuers clear hurdle in cave search for missing Thai boys

The group is between 800 metres and 1km below the surface, and about 2km inside the cave.

The governor of Chiang Rai, Narongsak Osoththanakorn, said that "no risk" would be taken in rescuing the boys. A full-face mask is easier to use for inexperienced divers.

"As rain is forecast in the next few days, the evacuation must be sped up".

Narongsak Osatanakorn, governor of Chiang Rai province, said the 13 were being rescued, adding: 'We found them safe.

"They are mentally quite fit, better than anticipated".

The pair had access to water, but for 10 days all they had to eat was a muesli bar. "I felt that I have hope that I am going to get to see my son alive", said Adisak Wongsukjan, whose 14-year-old son Ekarat is one of the boys seen huddling in the cave. They have muscle atrophy, they can barely stand up. The divers tell them they have to wait, but say people will come back for them.

Thai officials have been giving out mixed messages about the urgency of a rescue attempt.

But with more monsoonal storms imminent, "time is not on their side", he said.

"Rick and John installed a guideline - a line that can then be subsequently followed by the Thai Navy SEALs", Jewell said in a Skype interview with CNN from Manchester, England.

In October 2010, the volunteers were called to France, where they tried to find a diver who didn't re-emerge after exploring a submerged cave more than a kilometer long.

"They were diving upstream in the system, so they were having to swim against the current or pull themselves along the walls", he told the BBC. "If the gear is lost at any moment, it can be unsafe to life".

Cool as cucumbers, they have gone about their work single-mindedly and with absolute professionalism.


Rescue experts have suggested the safest option would be to supply the children and their coach with food and medical supplies and wait for the water level to subside, which could take weeks or even months, but the expected heavy rainfall could complicate the equation. Another option is to leave the boys inside until flood waters recede but that could take weeks or even months.

"It's unimaginable. I've been waiting for 10 days, I never imagined this day would come", the father of one of the boys said.

Right now they can't do anything at all. It is understood a parent of each of the boys and a mental health worker will accompany each one to the hospital after they are retrieved.

Families of the missing group were ecstatic at news of their discovery.

"They'll need fluids replacing (and) possibly feeding".

The decision about when and how any rescue attempt is made lies ultimately with the Thai military.

Authorities said efforts would continue outside the cave, where teams have been scouring the mountainside for other entrances to the caverns.

An underground headquarters has been set up, stocked with dive gear, oxygen tanks, medical supplies and food, which will be transported to the boys and their coach.

The boys, who are between 11 and 16 years old, are all members of the Wild Boar soccer team.

Thai police are investigating whether the coach should face criminal charges for leading the boys into the cave, Sky News reported. A sign advising against entering the caves during the rainy season (July-November) is posted at the entrance. Tham Luang cave is one of Thailand's longest and toughest to navigate, with snaking chambers and narrow passageways.

"Thank you all Thais, thank you all foreigners, everybody is a hero and everybody helped each other", Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters.

While efforts to pump out floodwaters are continuing, it's clear that some areas of the sprawling cavern can not be drained, said Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda, a member of Thailand's ruling military junta.

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