A Thai football team consisting of 12 boys and their coach are no closer to being rescued since they became trapped in a cave in Chiang Rai on June 23rd, due to a monsoon flood. They were found earlier this week, hungry and weak, but alive and in good health. Rescuers are currently considering four options and have made no decision yet as to how and when to extract the young boys and their coach.
One of the possible means of rescue is to teach the boys to use scuba diving gear, so that they could dive out of the cave, the way that their rescuers found them. A second possibility is for the group to stay put and wait four months, until the end of the rainy season, until the water levels recede so they can leave easily.
According to Reuters, some officials have said that if the weather is on their side, and the heavy monsoon rain subsides, the boys could be out in a couple of days. This would be made possible as enough water can be pumped out of the cave network to allow those trapped to get out the same way they entered, on foot through muddy tunnels, maybe with some swimming.
The final solution would be to find an alternative route into the cave chamber they are currently in.
Kobchai Boonarana, deputy director-general of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation department, told reporters on July 5th, "Their conditions, we can see that their morale is good but what about their strength and their ability? That's up to the team inside to decide."
"Our job is to keep pumping out water and it is up to the team inside to assess the safety level and whether the kids can travel safely through," he said.
According to Major General Chalongchai Chaiyakum, a regional army commander, it took 11 days for rescuers to do a round-trip from the entrance of the cave and back. They often encountered powerful currents in the muddy waters.
At the beginning of the search, there were heavy days of rain that flooded the cave complex, although the weather has been relatively dry since July 1st.
Thailand’s meteorological department has warned that heavy rains can be expected in the country’s northern region, including Chiang Rai, from July 7th-12th.
Food and water have been supplied to the boys in the caves by Thai authorities, and medical staff have also been sent, some of whom stay with the boys at all times.