Rescuers Say Thai Soccer Team Could Be In There For Months

Unclear now long they'll be in there

Rescuers Say Thai Soccer Team Could Be In There For Months Facebook

As Thai rescuers continue to work out how to safely free a young soccer team and their coach from inside a flooded cave, others are busy trying to install an internet cable so the children can talk to their parents.

Floodwater is continuing to be drained from the complex system in Chiang Rai but with heavy rain expected on the weekend pressure is mounting on whether to risk having the boys swim and dive through the complicated and narrow set of passageways.

Thai Navy Seal commander Rear Admiral Arpakorn Yookongkaew said there's no rush to bring them out as they are safe where they are, adding it would be extremely dangerous to have them dive through the dark, muddy water.

The team of 12 boys aged 11 to 16 and their 25-year-old coach became trapped on June 23 when monsoonal rain blocked their exit while exploring the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system in the north of the province.

After nearly ten days of searching, two British divers found the boys and were able to send back video footage of them huddled together on a dry ledge, above the water line and still in their soccer kit.

An international effort was involved in the search from Australia, China and the US. The Australian Defence Force confirmed on Thursday it had sent two disaster recovery specialists to aid in the rescue.

Thailand's Deputy Director of Disaster Prevention and Migration Korbchai Boonorana says work is underway to set up an internet cable for communications, as water is continuously pumped from the system.

"The water continues to be drained out. The more the better," Boonorana said.

Fresh footage emerged on Wednesday of the smiling faces of the boys, clad in silver foil space blankets.

They are being fed and cared for and receiving basic training in wearing a dive mask and tank, although no actual practice dives have as yet been done, Chiang Mai Governor Narongsak Osatanakorn.

The footage has lifted the spirits of families who are waiting for an internet cable to be connected so they can talk to their children.

Kian Kamluang, whose 16-year-old son, Pornchai, is in the cave, said she had thought he had a 50 per cent chance of being found.

"It's like he has been given a new life," she said.

Cave rescue experts have said it could be safest to supply food and aid to the boys where they are and wait for waters to recede, which could take month as Thailand's rainy season typically runs through to October.

Experienced divers are wary of taking out the boys through the dark and dangerous waters still in the cave, especially since they are untrained.

"We are talking kilometres of transport under the water with zero visibility," said Claus Rasmusen, a certified cave diving instructor based in Thailand who has been helping Thai SEAL team with logistics.

"It's difficult."

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