Published: Fri, July 06, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

French divers offer to help Thai cave rescue

French divers offer to help Thai cave rescue

What can Thai authorities do - or not do? At a news conference Wednesday, Osatanakorn said they've been practicing diving procedures and breathing.

On July 2, the Thai Navy SEALS, and two British cave diving experts found them alive, deep inside a partially flooded part of the cave. "It's confined spaces. It's nearly zero visibility".

Rescue teams are working in extremely hard conditions.

The third chamber of the cave, which is about two kilometres from the entrance, is now operating as the forward command of the rescue operations. They will be brought out gradually.

Malinowski adds, another challenge the team will face is having to swim against the flow of the water, which makes matters more hard, especially considering they could be weakened by being trapped in that cave without a steady dose of food and water.

"Officials would teach them how to move, how to dive, how to move their body under those circumstances". There's currents to battle against in places as well.

But the option of letting the survivors stay inside the cave until the floodwaters completely receded was yesterday ruled out amid the significant risk of impending heavy downpours that could again leave the cave flooded.

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"I have asked the doctor and the SEAL team who are working on the rescue operation to assess the situation and see what risk level we can take."

A rescue team from the United States Indo-Pacific Command has also vowed to support the operations at the Tham Luang cave until all 13 survivors are safely brought out.

"There's air pockets along the way", said Gary Mitchell, the group's assistant vice chairman.

Rescuers have prepared equipment and mapped out plans to evacuate the 12 youth soccer players, aged between 11 and 16 years, and their 25-year-old coach from Tham Luang Khun Nam Nang Non cave in Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province, about 860 kilometers north of Bangkok, where they have entered for a dozen days since June 23.

After a heart-breaking loss to Belgium in the round of 16 of the FIFA World Cup in Russian Federation, the Japanese men's national team also offered support to the young men trapped.

The boys remain weak after spending days in the darkness, barely moving from the small, muddy ledge, away from the water.

A former Thai Navy SEAL participating in the rescue effort at Tham Luang cave has died during the effort to rescue the 12 boys and their coach because of a lack of oxygen, according to Thai authorities.

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Emergency teams are also trying to install a phone line so the group can talk to their families but attempts to do so failed on Tuesday. Getting trained divers in is easier than getting untrained kids out.

"Our major concern is the weather because, despite our best efforts to drain the water, we can not beat the rising floodwater level if there's heavy rain", the governor said.

What are the trapped group having to endure?

"We have to see they are ready", he explained.

Another video has helped boost morale as its messenger knows better than most what the boys and their coach are going through.

Family members, waiting outside the caves, felt enormous relief when all members of the youth soccer team were found alive.

"Thai Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda has said the boys" only chance is to swim out through the flooded underground network and that swimming lessons will start on Wednesday or Thursday.

Osottanakorn said that teams on the surface were no longer drilling into the rock to create new shafts, but are focusing efforts on finding existing chimneys.

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Why it is proving hard to extricate Thai cave boys What next? "About 120 million liters of water had been pumped out by late on Tuesday, or about 1.6 million every hour", Reuters reported. Chiang Rai's deputy governor said authorities prefer the diving option.

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