“We Must Get the Children Out Before the Rain”: Thailand Weighs a Submarine Rescue

The minors have begun to be trained in diving techniques. The weather forecasts announce heavy rains in the coming days, which could further raise the water level.

The next hours are critical to saving the 12 children and their football coach trapped for 12 days in a cave in northern Thailand. The rains of the monsoon have given a small respite to the rescue teams, but the weather forecasts ensure that they will return from Saturday

A rescue attempt could be tried earlier, probably throughout Friday, if the water level is low enough to guide the children to the exit using life jackets. “The water level has been dropping one centimetre per hour. If we can continue this pace, it should be safe enough to get the children out soon, “said Narongsak Osotanakorn, governor of Chiang Rai, the province in which the cave is located.

However, the most feasible alternative in the coming days would be to dive the 13 trapped ones until the exit of the cave. But the operation is very dangerous since none of the children or their trainer knows how to swim and the cave is full of narrow passages without any visibility. The kids have been learning to use the diving equipment for several days, but the journey is long. Thus, an experienced diver takes about six hours to complete the journey, and up to 11 for the less trained, so the time would be even longer in the case of minors. Panic can be the main enemy of children because keeping calm for so long can be almost impossible and any false move can cost them their lives.

The governor of Chiang Rai has ensured that the children will be taken out one by one and that those who are in better health will be evacuated first. Those with a more delicate state of health, the most weakened by the days in the cave or with wounds, will be evacuated last. However, the official said that everyone’s health is stable and that they are recovering thanks to the provisions that the divers are taking. An army team, including a doctor, is now continuously with them.

If the rescue is finally attempted by diving, it is likely that a cable will be installed underwater to guide the kids through the darkness. However, the rescued would be helped by teams of divers, probably Thailanders to facilitate communication, who would also transport parts of their diving equipment, such as bottles so that the feeling of anguish is as small as possible.

However, the urgency is maximum. “We are in a race against time,” said the governor of Chiang Rai. Although heavy rains are not expected in the next two days, the monsoons are unpredictable and can be downloaded at any time. Today has been awakened cloudy in the area.

The news has also gone around the world and the government could make hasty decisions as a result of pressure. “All Thai society is watching. The international community is watching. There is immense pressure on the military government. They have to show the international community that they can get them out alive, “says Paul Chambers, a specialist in Thai politics at Naresuan University. King Vajiralongkorn has also urged rescuers to do everything possible to evacuate the football team as soon as possible.

In case you can not get the children out in the next few days, you will probably have to wait inside the cave until the monsoon rains season ends, in late October or early November. However, this option also involves risks, since the rains are especially heavy during the month of September and the first weeks of October and the water level would increase even more.

However, it is also studying the possibility of installing a small capsule that could make the journey inside the cave and in which the children could be removed one by one without having to swim themselves. However, it is still not clear that they have the necessary means to do so or that the conditions of the cave can allow it.

Another option that was being studied was to drill a tunnel that took from the surface to the minors but it can be a solution too slow due to the technical difficulties of it. However, the government announced at a press conference today that work is still underway on this possibility and that the most appropriate place to drill is being sought. The authorities also announced that they will finish installing the cable that will allow children to contact their families.

We Must Get the Children Out Before the Rain Thailand Weighs a Submarine Rescue

The minors, who are between 11 and 16 years old, entered with their soccer coach in the cave on June 23 after finishing a training session and were trapped when the torrential rain blocked the start. They had left their bicycles, their shoes and other belongings in the area that gives access to the narrow corridors of the cave. A few meters before, at the entrance, a sign advises not to enter the cave between the months of July and September.


Source: El Confidencial