Video shared by the Thai Navy SEALs reveals the boys, who had been discovered alive by British divers within the early hours of Monday night, huddled collectively on a small patch of dry floor, surrounded by water in a cramped, pitch-black chamber.
“It’s estimated that the boys are round two kilometers (1.2 miles) into the cave and someplace between 800 meters to at least one kilometer (0.6 miles) under the floor,” stated Invoice Whitehouse, vice chairman, British Cave Rescue Council, whose group has helped spearhead the search of the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system in northern Thailand.
However because the search operation enters into the subsequent part, choices for rescuers seem restricted. The realm during which the group stays stranded is barely accessible through a slim, flooded channel, and makes an attempt to pump water from the cave, or discover a pure opening within the roof of the chamber, have up to now proved unsuccessful.
Capt. Akanand Surawan, a commander with the Royal Thai Navy, stated authorities would now provide the group with 4 months’ price of meals and start instructing the boys tips on how to scuba dive.
Surawan’s reference to 4 months has been interpreted as a possible signal that authorities are contemplating ready till after the wet season ends in October to start the rescue operation.
However with heavy rain anticipated to proceed within the coming days, rising water ranges might drive rescuers to behave sooner reasonably than later.
“We imagine that there’s solely a brief break within the monsoon and all possible choices for the rescue of the boys are being thought-about,” Whitehouse stated in a press release.
“Though water ranges have dropped, the diving circumstances stay troublesome and any try and dive the boys and their coach out is not going to be taken flippantly as a result of there are important technical challenges and dangers to think about,” stated Whitehouse.
Diving is taken into account among the many least preferable escape strategies, with consultants cautioning that any try and traverse the slim passageways will likely be fraught with difficulties and potential problems, particularly if the youngsters cannot swim.
“Worst case state of affairs is that they must dive them out,” stated Pat Moret, a rescue advisor advised CNN on Monday.
“It will not be something like diving that most individuals acknowledge. It will likely be diving in what’s successfully muddy water, presumably quick flowing, with no sense of path,” Moret stated. “You’ll be able to’t inform what’s up, down, sideways.”
The emotional toil of any rescue try would additionally have to be thought-about stated Paul Auerbach, Professor of Emergency Medication at Stanford College.
“That is going to be a sophisticated rescue. It is manageable, however they must ensure that these youngsters are bodily able to it and emotionally able to it as properly,” stated Auerbach.
“They will be assessed for hydration standing, ample gasoline provide, ample meals in order that their glucose degree is ample, after which little question they will do follow dives,” he added.
Battling the rains
The boys, who’re between ages 11 and 16 and are members of the Wild Boars soccer workforce, had been exploring the cave community with their soccer coach on June 23, when heavy seasonal rains flooded the cave’s entrance, forcing the group additional and additional into the labyrinth of tunnels seeking excessive floor.
Their sudden disappearance sparked a determined nine-day race in opposition to time as a whole bunch of volunteers and specialist worldwide search groups battled in opposition to the heavy rains to find the lacking group.
On Monday, Narongsak Osottanakorn, governor of Chiang Rai, the area the place the caves are positioned, advised reporters that the mission is “not executed but” and medical consultants must enter the cave to evaluate the boys earlier than any additional motion is taken.
“We are going to drain all water out from the cave then we are going to take all 13 folks out of the cave. We are actually planning tips on how to ship (a) nurse and physician contained in the cave to examine their well being and motion. We are going to work all night time,” he stated.
Surawan, a commander with the Royal Thai Navy, stated further divers will accompany the physician and nurse. Rescuers can even pump air into the cave to enhance circumstances.
Rescue groups have been making an attempt to empty the underground tunnels for a number of days, and at one level had been eradicating an estimated 1.6 million liters of water an hour. Nevertheless, steady rains have annoyed makes an attempt to clear the passageways, with the water remaining at a gradual degree.
A last rescue possibility might see the boys lifted by way of the roof of the cave chamber to security, both by way of a pure opening or a drilled entry level.
Throughout an tried rescue mission final week, trekkers discovered a hidden opening deep within the jungle, giving them one other option to enter the cave system. The pure chimney was least 1.5 meters in diameter and no less than 22 meters (72 ft) deep.
Although the opening didn’t connect with the realm the place the boys had been found, now that the precise location is understood, rescue efforts can deal with discovering different, probably hidden openings.
“Again right here within the UK, there may be an evaluation of digital tools which may be appropriate to pin-point the underground location of the boys and coach with a larger diploma of accuracy than the printed surveys,” stated Whitehouse.
“They (the group) are additionally positioned in a comparatively small house and this could make any potential drilling try as a way of rescue very troublesome,” added Whitehouse.
“The mandatory tools will likely be despatched to Thailand if digital consultants agree on the feasibility that it’s going to function over such depths.”
CNN’s Darran Simon contributed to this report.