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Search for caves in Thailand: rescuers are not sure how to free trapped children



The video shared by the Navy Seals shows the children, who were found alive by British divers in the early hours of Monday night, huddled together on a small piece of dry land, surrounded by water in a narrow chamber and dark

"It is estimated that children are about two kilometers (1.2 miles) inside the cave and somewhere between 800 meters and one kilometer (0.6 miles) below the surface," said Bill Whitehouse, vice president of the British Cave Rescue Council. whose organization has helped lead the search for the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system in northern Thailand.

But as the rescue operation enters the next phase, the options for rescuers appear to be limited. The area in which the group remains stranded is only accessible through a narrow flooded channel and attempts to extract water from the cave, or find a natural opening in the roof of the chamber has so far not been successful.

Capt. Akanand Surawan, a commander of the Royal Thai Navy, said that providing the group with four months of food and teaching the children how to dive is the next phase of the plan to take them home.

But with the rain continuing to fall, the increase in water levels could force rescuers to act sooner rather than later.

"We believe there is only a short break in the monsoon and all possible options are being considered for the rescue of the children," Whitehouse said in a statement.

"Although water levels have dropped, diving conditions remain difficult and any attempt to dive children and their trainer will not be taken lightly because there are considerable technical challenges and risks to consider," Whitehouse said.

Diving is considered one of the least preferred escape methods, and experts warn that any attempt to cross narrow roads will be fraught with difficulties and possible complications, especially if children can not swim.

"The worst scenario is that they have to cut them out," said Pat Moret, a rescue adviser to CNN on Monday.

"It will be nothing like diving what most people recognize, it will be diving in what is actually muddy water, possibly fast flowing, with no sense of direction," said Moret. "You can not know what's going on, down, sideways."

Fighting the rains

The children, who are between 11 and 16 years old and are members of the Wild Boars football team, have been exploring the cave network with their soccer coach on June 23, when heavy rains Seasonal floods flooded the entrance to the cave, forcing the group further and further into the labyrinth of tunnels in search of elevated terrain.

His sudden disappearance prompted a desperate nine-day race against time as hundreds of volunteers and specialized international search teams battled heavy rains to locate the missing group.

On Monday, Narongsak Osottanakorn, governor of the Chiang Rai local region, told reporters that the mission "has not yet finished" and that medical experts should enter the cave to assess the children before taking any another measure

"We will drain all the water from the cave and then we will take all 13 people out of the cave, now we are planning how to send (a) a nurse and a doctor inside the cave to control their health and movement. ", He said.

  Relieved families hear the news that & # 39; I've been waiting: the children are alive.

Surawan, a commander of the Royal Thai Navy, said additional divers accompany the doctor and nurse. Rescuers will also pump air into the cave to improve conditions.

Rescue teams have been trying to drain the cave for several days, and at one point they were pumping 1.6 million liters of water per hour out of the cave. However, the continuous rains have frustrated the attempts to clear the corridors, with the remaining water at a constant level.

  Families have been holding vigils outside the cave entrance since the children disappeared.

A final rescue option could the boys rise through the roof of the cave to save themselves, either through a natural opening or a punctured entry point.

During a rescue mission last week, hikers found an opening hidden deep in the jungle, giving them another way to enter the cave system. The natural chimney was at least 1.5 meters in diameter and at least 22 meters (72 feet) deep, north of the opening of the cave.

Although the opening was not connected to the area where the children were discovered, now that the location of the children is known, rescue efforts can focus on finding other potentially hidden openings.

"They are also found in a relatively small space and this would make it very difficult to attempt any potential drilling as a means of rescue," Whitehouse said.

"Here in the United Kingdom, there is an evaluation of electronic equipment that may be adequate to locate the underground location of the children and the coach with a greater degree of accuracy than the published surveys," Whitehouse added.

"The necessary equipment will be sent to Thailand if the electronic experts agree on the feasibility that will operate in such depths."

Darran Simon of CNN contributed to this report.

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