Now that rescue efforts have located and confirmed that all 13 members of a Thai soccer team that have been trapped in the Tham Luang cave in Thailand since June 23 are alive, efforts are turning towards how to extract the group. However, with monsoon season settling in, this will be no easy rescue mission.
As previously reported in this Inquisitr article, two British divers have located and confirmed that all 13 members of the Thai soccer team were alive and safe. Now, as supplies and medical staff are sent in, experts are debating the best way to rescue the group. While it was previously thought to be too dangerous to have the group dive out, it seems lessons are still being given to the Thai soccer team ahead of a definitive rescue strategy.
According to a report from USA Today, Thai Navy SEALs have started to teach the group to dive and swim on Wednesday.
Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan revealed the news to reporters in Thailand on Wednesday.
“The water is very strong and space is narrow. Extracting the children takes a lot of people. Now we are teaching the children to swim and dive.”
Thai media has also reported that the boys have been practicing using diving equipment but are yet to try them out in the water according to USA Today.
Many experts believe this measure is too dangerous and could endanger not only the lives of the Thai soccer team but of expert divers who would be assisting them.
However, this step may only be a precautionary action aimed to assist the group if water levels rise to dangerous levels. Currently, the Thai soccer team is located on a ledge that is surrounded by water and the fear is that freakish monsoon conditions could compromise this location.
Chiang Rai provincial Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn, the Thai official overseeing the rescue operation, also suggested that each potential dive would be assessed individually and would not be undertaken unless the person was confident in their ability.
“All 13 may not come out at the same time. If the condition is right and if that person is ready 100 percent, he can come out.”
Even diving experts suggest that while teaching the Thai soccer team how to swim and dive in order to have them dive out of the cave system is not the preferred rescue option, there is currently no easy option to extract the group and the situation must be constantly assessed.
Anmar Mirza is the coordinator of the National Cave Rescue Commission and has more than 30 years of experience in cave rescues. He explained to CBS This Morning the complications involved with such a rescue mission.
“It’s a very difficult thing to plan for and be ready for all the contingencies. And the problem becomes is the contingencies are what can potentially be fatal. Panicking, losing your mask, having an issue with the equipment in an environment where you’re enclosed is incredibly dangerous. If the flooding situation worsens to the point where they decide that they need to try to do something, they’re going to have to weigh the risk versus the potential benefit there, and regardless of which option is used, whether it’s diving or waiting for the water to go down, there are risks involved. There are no good choices.”
While the safest option would be to have the group wait out monsoon season, Mirza also pointed out that while the Thai soccer team was in good health now, things might change after they are confined to such a small location for the length of time required to wait for the monsoon season to pass. He indicated that things such as medical emergencies could arise, and the psychological health of the group could deteriorate as well. Therefore, all options have to be considered at this point in time.
The boys from the Thai soccer team, ranging in age from 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach have been stranded deep inside the cave system in Thailand’s Chiang Rai province for 12 days so far.