Thailand Boys Found Alive in Cave, Now Comes the Hard Part.
The good news is the kids were found alive. The bad news is there is no good way to get them out, and dangerous conditions could change at a moments notice.
The boys, aged between 11 and 16, and their 25-year-old coach went missing on 23 June. It is believed they entered the cave when it was dry and sudden heavy rains blocked the exit.
They were found on a rock shelf about 4km (2.5 miles) from the mouth of the cave.
It is thought the boys could move through parts of the cave in dry conditions but rushing waters clogged the narrow passages with mud and debris, blocking visibility and access.
One of the toughest stretches for the divers came as they neared the so-called Pattaya Beach – an elevated mound in the cave complex – where it was hoped the boys had sought refuge.
Divers had to navigate a series of sharp, narrow bends in near-darkness. They completed the difficult journey to find Pattaya Beach flooded, so swam on and found the boys about 400m away.
Bringing the trapped boys to safety is an extremely dangerous task given the conditions inside.
The Tham Luang cave complex in Chiang Rai in northern Thailand is regularly flooded during the rainy season which lasts until September or October.
The options are being pressed into action as fears of further flooding worry rescue officials, plus the fact that apparently none of the boys can swim.
SEAL commander Rear Adm. Arpakorn Yookongkaew said seven members of his unit — including a doctor and a nurse — are now with the 12 boys and their coach in the cave where they took shelter.
He told a news conference that his team members “have given the boys food, starting from easily digested and high-powered food with enough minerals.” He said that having the rescued people dive out of the cave was one of several options being considered. If it were employed, he said they “have to be certain that it will work and have to have a drill to make that it’s 100 percent safe.”
According to Thai media reports, a first meal of pork and rice is being prepared for the boys with rescuers signalling that sealed portions of the dish will be taken to the trapped boys.
“A telephone line will be installed tonight… they (the boys) will be able to talk with their families via military phone,” Passakorn Boonyarat, deputy governor of Chiang Rai province, told reporters late on Tuesday.