News & Politics

Time Running Out for Thai Teens Trapped in Cave as Monsoon Rains Approach

Time is running out for a group of Thai footballers who have been trapped in a flooded cave for 12 days, as rescuers fear monsoon rains predicted for this weekend could put the boys in serious peril.

The boys, aged 11-16, were discovered in the cave three days ago with their 25-year-old coach after having been trapped for more than a week.

A military operation is underway in the Tham Nang Non cave complex, with rescuers employing hundreds of industrial pumps to drain water from the cave in hopes that the boys might be able to navigate their way back to safety without having to swim the 2.5-mile path.

A British diver who is participating in the rescue effort posted a video of the boys, who appear to all be responsive:

Thai Navy SEALs are involved in the rescue effort, which is currently focused on reducing the water level in the third chamber of the cave. The boys are being hastily trained in scuba diving  as a last resort, but because of the limited swimming skills of the group, they’re hoping to avoid that scenario

“Clearing the third basin would leave another 2.5km of path to the boys, whose ages range from 11 to 16,” the Guardian reported. “A Chinese diver at the site, Wang Ying Jie, said about half that remaining path would be walkable in the right conditions; the maximum water depth they would need to cross is about six metres.”

The situation became even grimmer on Monday when rescue teams accidentally pumped more water into the cave:

Water has been accidentally pumped back into cave where Thai boys are stuck

Water has been accidentally pumped back into cave where the Thai boys are trappedFull story: https://dailym.ai/2Nmr7TX

Posted by Daily Mail on Thursday, July 5, 2018

Monsoon rains are predicted for Saturday which would quickly refill the cave complex, stranding the boys, who are perched on a narrow ledge, for months.

Narongsak Osatanakorn, the governor of Chiang Rai province, told the Guardian that rain is the biggest worry. “We were racing against time before we found them,” he said. “Now we’re racing against water. It keeps seeping through the cave.”

It’s not clear why the boys, who were reportedly practicing in a field nearby, entered the cave. Kamonchai Kotcha, director of the Office of Conserved Area in Chiang Rai, told Thai PBS that permission from park officials is required for entrance to the cave. A sign posted at the entrance warns visitors not to enter.