Rescue postponed for soccer kids trapped in cave

Charlene Craig
July 9, 2018

Military personnel carry a water pump machine as they enter the Tham Luang cave complex, where 12 boys and their soccer coach are trapped, in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand, July 6, 2018.

The first page of the notes, written by assistant coach Ekkapol Chanthawong, says: "What we want to communicate: The kids say don't be anxious about them".

A senior army commander, Maj. Oxygen levels are decreasing because of the numbers of workers inside the cave.

The governor has said the 13 boys may not be extracted at the same time, depending on their condition.

Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters on Friday that the boys were working to build up their strength, but were not yet ready to navigate their way through small underwater passages - which can reportedly take an experienced diver around five hours. They've practised wearing diving masks and breathing, in preparation for the diving possibility. It's unclear exactly how and when rescuers will try to extract the group, and Thai officials have cautioned that it could take "weeks or months".

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Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha expressed his condolences over Samarn's death but it would not deter the rescue teams, a spokesman said.

More heavy rain is expected at the weekend, which is set to complicate the rescue effort. And without proper oxygen levels, staying put could also prove deadly.

"But if it rains and adds to it again, we don't know what other risk factors we will have to face", he said, also warning about higher carbon dioxide levels in the cave.

Though Gunam had retired from Navy service and was now employed as an airport security officer, he volunteered to help rescue the boys and their coach, and he was one of 28 Navy officers on the scene that are trained as specialists on sea, air and land (SEAL), the Bangkok Post reported. "It's going to be muddy water".

But the rain had begun to fall.

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Katadzic has not dived the final kilometre to where the boys are stranded on a muddy bank, the most risky part of the dive where rescuers have to hold their oxygen tanks in front of them to squeeze through submerged holes. But there are still sections of the cave that are flooded and would require anyone traversing them to dive.

The US official said a plan to route oxygen into the chamber where the boys are was also called off due to challenge of routing cable through cave system.

The officials involved in the rescue mission have been able to drain water out of a section of cave even though some parts of the cave are heavily flooded and would require diving.

"The families should focus on proper parenting while society should not judge whether this was wrong or right but take this as an opportunity to learn", it said in a statement, promising counselling for the boys once freed. A lot more water, a lot more current washing people around. "Finding the boys doesn't mean we've finished our mission".

The messages were sent back and forth from the boys inside the caves and their families waiting outside. And the point is so narrow that only one diver can usually pass at a time, meaning a boy might have to negotiate that point without the aid of a rescuer, he said. Queue said he wept upon hearing the good news.

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