Philippine Daily Inquirer

RES­CUERS PON­DER HOW TO SAVE 13 THAIS IN ‘RACE AGAINST WA­TER’

- —REUTERS

BANGKOK— Res­cuers in Thai­land are de­cid­ing how they will res­cue 12 boys and their soc­cer coach from a flooded cave com­plex as the coun­try’s north braces for more mon­soon rains that could im­peril the op­er­a­tion.

The boys are around four kilo­me­ters from the cave’s en­trance, ac­cord­ing to the Thai navy, and about 400 me­ters from Pat­taya Beach, a large, el­e­vated point in­side the Tham Luang cave com­plex.

Hard way out

But be­fore the group, trapped since June 23, can be re­united with their fam­i­lies, they will have to con­tend with de­bris clog­ging some of the pas­sage­ways back to the cave’s en­trance and high wa­ter lev­els that might re­quire them to use scuba div­ing gear, de­spite no pre­vi­ous train­ing.

Many have ques­tioned how the chil­dren can be brought out if it took even ex­pert divers nine days to reach them.

The 10-km Tham Luang com­plex in Chi­ang Rai is rel­a­tively un­ex­plored and in­cludes nar- row, dark pas­sages. Be­fore the boys reach a T-junc­tion 3 km north of the cave’s en­trance they will have to dive at least once, said res­cue work­ers.

“It takes six hours to get to where the chil­dren are and five hours to come back (to the cave’s en­trance),” said Maj. Gen. Cha­longchai Chaiyakum.

Of­fi­cials have said between two to three divers will ac­com­pany each mem­ber of the group.

Race against wa­ter

Thai­land is in the mid­dle of its mon­soon sea­son which usu­ally ends in mid-Oc­to­ber. A sign out­side the cave warns vis­i­tors it is prone to flood­ing.

Thomas Hester of the Aus­tralian Fed­eral Po­lice said there were “heav­ily flooded ar­eas” in­side the cave com­plex.

 ?? —AP ?? WHATTODO Thai res­cuers en­ter the dark cave where 12 boys and their soc­cer coach have been trapped since June 23.
—AP WHATTODO Thai res­cuers en­ter the dark cave where 12 boys and their soc­cer coach have been trapped since June 23.

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