By Chase Lacy
By Chase Lacy
Rabat – The Wild Boar youth football team that went missing in Northern Thailand’s Tham Luang Nang Non-cave were found on Monday. A video released by the Thai Navy confirmed the group is still alive.
In a statement, the governor of the Chiang Rai region, Narongsak Osottanakorn, said, “I confirm they are all safe.”
On June 23, the team went on an excursion into the popular cave, but after walking inside, sudden heavy rainfall trapped them underground.
The cave complex is a massive network of tight and narrow tunnels connecting cavernous openings, and the continuous flooding makes the rescue operation particularly perilous.
Rescuers suspected that the boys went to an area known in the cave as “Pattaya Beach,” however upon reaching the massive chamber, they discovered that there was too much flooding. Continuing for another approximately 400 meters they found the group had taken refuge on a muddy incline above the water level.
British cave divers were the first to make contact with the exhausted group inside the massive cave complex. However daunting challenges remain to rescue the twelve 11-16-year-olds and their 25-year-old coach.
Apakorn Yukongkaew, naval special command chief in the Thai Navy, said that they were trying to pump water out of the cave, and that they were establishing a telephone line in the cave.
The commander of the Marehong River Line Unit, Wutthichai Poocharoenyos, said if the water levels go down the boys would be able to walk out of the cave, but if not they will have to dive. He also added that there were US Navy SEAL officers and medics assisting the boys.
Thailand’s rainy season does not end until September or October; the Thai military said that food for four months is being sent to the boys.
Unless the cave can be pumped out enough for them to walk out, they will remain there until the end of the rainy season.
In the worst case scenario, continuing rains and struggling pumping systems could flood their small sanctuary, forcing the group to take a risky dive through narrow and muddy waters. Complicating matters are general weakness from undernourishment and that apparently none of the boys know how to swim