Rescue workers have resumed their search for 12 boys and their football coaches who are missing from a wide network of caves in northern Thailand and feared being cut off because of rising water levels.
About a dozen Thai navy seal commandos re-entered Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang rai province on Tuesday morning, the Associated Press reported. Rescue efforts were halted on Monday after extensive flooding in the cave.
The boys, ages 11 to 15, and their 25-year-old coach are believed to be alive, but they were trapped in a cave for three nights. There are bicycles, backpacks and football sets at the entrance.
“We want the water to go down, but we have to see it,” navy lieutenant Naponwath Homsai said Tuesday. “Today we’re going to try to find an underwater passage that hopefully leads to other rooms.”
Here’s what you know:
Rescue teams gather in a deep hole where a boy is missing in changrai, Thailand, on June 25, 2018.
Rescue teams gather in a missing boy’s cave in Chang Rai, Thailand, June 25, 2018. Krit Promsakla Na Sakolnakorn – AP
A group of 12 boys and their soccer coach were believed to have entered a cave in the northern Thai province of Chiang rai on Saturday afternoon, the Associated Press reported.
After one of the boys failed to return from soccer practice, his mother alerted authorities to the search effort.
Heavy rains this week have caused some caves to fill up to 5 meters (16 feet) of water, according to rescue officials. Police found footprints and handprints in the compound, and authorities say other hikers who had been cut off by flooding in the past have been rescued from safe heights in the cave. “We believe the children should still be in good shape,” said Passakorn Bunyalak, the deputy governor of qinglai, on Monday.
Going deep into the cave will increase the challenge of rescue work. The divers may have to teach the trapped boys basic scuba skills and provide them with food, otherwise the boy may have to wait for the water to recede, pasakorn said.
Where are they?
It is believed that Moo Paa (boar) college football club members of the boys and their coach was trapped in Tham Luang Nang cave, the 6-8 km long (4-5 miles) cave by large Chambers are connected by a narrow channel. The cave is a tourist attraction near the Burmese border. Due to flooding during Thailand’s rainy season, Tham Luang Nang Non can only be used between November and June, according to cave guidelines for the region.
Family members pray at the entrance to Tham Luang cave on June 26, 2018, while rescuers search for missing members of the children’s soccer team and its coach at Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park cave in qinglai province.
Family members pray at the entrance to Tham Luang cave on June 26, 2019, while rescuers find missing child soccer players and coaches at Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park cave in qinglai province. Sanskrit Phromsakla na-afp/Getty Images
What rescue work is going on?
Thai navy seals and other rescue workers have re-entered some of the flooded caves as rescue workers were forced to suspend operations early Tuesday after floodwaters forced them to suspend operations on Monday.
Overnight, electricians installed a wire a kilometer (0.6 miles) from the hole on Tuesday to support divers and lights. Narongsak Osottanakorn, the state’s governor, said the line would also allow them to install engines to pump out some of the flooding.
For the past three days, families and supporters have gathered outside the cave, waiting for news and a prayer meeting. Some held a traditional ceremony Tuesday morning to call for the missing.
“I didn’t sleep, and I hoped they would all come out and everything was safe,” said Namhom Boonpiam, his 13-year-old son, who disappeared. “My son is a strong boy. I still have hope. “