Thai rescue team drill 100 ‘shafts’ into mountain in bid to reach 12 trapped boys as Navy SEALs prepare for daring mission into cave before floods arrive  

“Parents are anxiously waiting near the cave as grey skies threaten to wreck the entire rescue effort.”


Rescuers in Thailand are today desperately drilling more than 100 shafts through mountain rock to reach 12 trapped young footballers.

The last-ditch rescue effort is set to take place in the following ‘one or two days’ as monsoon rains approach — which would make the cave impassable.

Elite navy divers are on anxious standby to rescue the team who have been trapped in a cave for 14 days.

The boys and their 25-year-old coach are not ready to be extracted, but authorities are likely to launch a risky rescue attempt in coming days if rain begins catastrophically flooding the caves.

Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn said the boys were learning to dive but were not strong enough to undertake to long journey through narrow, underwater passages. […]

On Friday, after pumping out 130 million litres, the cave water levels had dropped by enough to enable the boys to pass some sections without going under water. It means that an 11-hour return journey has apparently been cut to less than six.

He said the two British divers had yesterday visited the boys again, who were mostly in good condition, although three were now ‘quite weak’ physically.

‘Weaker than the other boys, but not in a serious condition. And they are all mentally strong,’ he said

However, rescue teams are racing against time amid worsening weather and lowered oxygen levels, which may force rescuers to try pulling the boys out before they were fully ready.

‘We can no longer wait for all conditions to be ready, because circumstances are pressuring us,’ naval chief Apakorn Yukongkaew said.

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