Thailand cave rescue mission picks up pace as flooding eases

- Advertisement -

The effort to find 12 boys and their football coach who have been missing in a cave in Thailand for a week has picked up pace.

A break in the rain eased flooding in the system of caverns as more experts from around the world joined the mission.

Pumping out water has not solved the problem, so greater effort has been made to find shafts on the outside of the cave that might serve as a back door to the blocked-off areas where the missing may be sheltering.

Australian police and military personnel were deployed on Saturday to join other multinational teams of experts.

Thailand cave rescue
(PA Graphics)

Reflecting that hope, a medical evacuation drill was held on Saturday morning to see how long it would take to get rescued people out of the cave, into 13 ambulances and to the nearest hospital.

Thailand Cave Search
Thai soldiers hold an evacuation drill near the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand (Sakchai Lalit/AP)

A second, private Chinese group, calling itself Green Boat Emergency, arrived on Saturday.

“Our skills are search and rescue on mountains and in caves. We hope we can help,” said Wang Xudong, a member of the group.

Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osatanakorn said the falling water level in the cave has helped the rescue effort considerably.

“Today the situation is much better and we have high hopes, and will be here all night,” he said.

Thailand Cave Search
Rescuers were forced to leave the flooded cave complex (Sakchai Lalit/AP)

With water levels dropping, they resumed dives on Saturday, re-entering a chamber from which they had retreated earlier in the week.

In addition to pumping out the flooded chambers, there have been efforts to find the source of the water flooding the cave in order to drain or divert it.

Chaiwat Dusadeepanich, of the Department of Groundwater Resources, said his team, which has been drilling for two days, had found a small underground water source near the cave.

“But the water flow rate isn’t great enough,” he said. “We would have to drill in deeper to get to the source, but at least we found it. Hopefully we can start pumping out the well water by the end of today.”

Hopes were also high for finding some kind of access through fissures on the mountainside that might lead to shafts into the cave.

Thailand Cave Search
Rescuers work at the entrance to the cave (Sakchai Lalit/AP)

“Today we will re-enter the second chamber that we found and try to find passages that could lead to other chambers.”

Officials said on Friday that they were dropping care packages into the shafts in the hope that the missing group might retrieve them.

Each package contains food, beverages, a phone, a flashlight, candles, a lighter and a map of the cave.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest Stories

- Advertisement -

UK News

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Read the latest free supplements

Read the Town Crier, Le Rocher and a whole host of other subjects like mortgage advice, business, cycling, travel and property.