Weekend Reads Thai cave rescuers face race against time as oxygen levels drop

17:16  06 july  2018
17:16  06 july  2018 Source:   cnn.com

9 days of hell: Inside the race to save a soccer team trapped in a cave

  9 days of hell: Inside the race to save a soccer team trapped in a cave 9 days of hell: Inside the race to save a soccer team trapped in a caveBut they didn't surface from the cave that day. Nor the next day. Nor for another week.

Rescuers have found the 12 boys and their football coach trapped inside the cave complex in Chiang Rai, Thailand , but now face a race against time to try and free them. Latest.

Reports say the water level has dropped 40 centimeters since the pumping started. Some experts have noted that they boys have had enough oxygen to breathe. Related. Thai Rescuers Race Rain to Save Soccer Team.

The Thai boys with Navy SEALs inside the cave on Tuesday.© AP The Thai boys with Navy SEALs inside the cave on Tuesday. Navys SEALs stayed with the boys overnight and tended their minor wounds.© Thai Royal Navy Navys SEALs stayed with the boys overnight and tended their minor wounds.

Pressure is mounting on Thai authorities to bring forward a rescue plan for 12 boys and their coach trapped deep inside a flooded cave in northern Thailand, after the death of a former navy diver and a drop in oxygen levels underground.

Officials initially thought they could keep the boys and their coach in the cave where they are trapped for up to four months, until waters dropped sufficiently for them to be able to walk out.

But the death of a rescue team member, and the realization that oxygen levels have fallen to potentially dangerous levels, appears to have forced a reassessment of the situation.

A Daring Plan to Rescue Boys Trapped In Thai Cave Is Starting to Take Shape

  A Daring Plan to Rescue Boys Trapped In Thai Cave Is Starting to Take Shape A Daring Plan to Rescue Boys Trapped In Thai Cave Is Starting to Take ShapeEarlier this week, 12 Thai boys from a youth soccer team and their coach were discovered by diving experts trapped in an air pocket deep within a submerged cave system. Water levels within the cave complex aren’t expected to drop for months, but a daring plan to rescue the boys is now rapidly taking shape.

With heavy weekend rain expected, Thai rescuers are racing against time to pump water out of a flooded cave so they can safely remove 12 boys and their soccer coach with minimum risk, officials say. A firefighter, who is working on draining the water

Rescuers in Thailand are racing against the weather to free 12 boys and their football coach trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand . Water levels have dropped by more than 40cm (15in) since Wednesday, with rescue workers now able to walk through a 1.5km (0.9 mile) stretch from the

Thai Navy SEAL chief Rear Adm. Aphakorn Yoo-kongkaew said oxygen levels in the cave had dropped to 15%, a level that one Thai medic said posed a serious risk of hypoxia, the same condition that causes altitude sickness. It was too dangerous to leave the boys much longer, Yoo-kongkaew said, despite the risks involved in attempting to bring them out.

"We can no longer wait for all conditions (to be ready) because of the oppressive situation," he told journalists Friday.

"We originally thought the young boys could stay safe inside the cave for quite a long time but circumstances have changed. We have limited amount of time." He did not say how long they could survive with current oxygen levels, but he said getting more oxygen piped into the boys was top priority.

FIFA boss invites Thai cave boys to World Cup final

  FIFA boss invites Thai cave boys to World Cup final FIFA boss invites Thai cave boys to World Cup finalInfantino said he hoped the Wild Boars team, who were stranded by rising floodwaters two weeks ago, would be rescued in time to watch the final in Moscow on July 15.

Rescuers in Thailand are racing against the weather to free 12 boys and their football coach trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand . Water levels have dropped by more than 40cm (15in) since Wednesday, with rescue workers now able to walk through a 1.5km (0.9 mile) stretch from the

Chinese diver Zhou Yahui, who had just returned from the cave , said: “The water level will drop , but that doesn’t mean they won’t have to dive. A Thai rescuer prepares oxygen tanks for diving after 12 boys and their football coach were found alive.

The SEAL commander spoke just hours after former Sgt. Saman Kunan, a Thai ex-SEAL, died at 2 a.m. Friday (2 p.m. Thursday ET), as he returned from an operation to deliver oxygen tanks to the cave where the boys are located.

The 38-year-old ran out of air while underwater, an official said.

The boys, members of a youth football team, and their coach have been trapped in the labyrinthine cave at the Tham Luang Nang Non complex for nearly two weeks, unable to navigate their way out of a series of narrow passages after floodwaters forced them to take shelter on a rocky ledge.

The huge operation to rescue them involves dozens of Thai Navy SEALs, and experts and volunteer divers from parts of Europe and Asia, as well as Australia and the US. Billionaire inventor and entrepreneur Elon Musk said Friday engineers from his SpaceX & Boring Co. were heading to Thailand to see if they could help.

Related: What are the options for rescuing trapped team?

Thais fight water and oxygen levels in cave as diver dies

  Thais fight water and oxygen levels in cave as diver dies Thais fight water and oxygen levels in cave as diver diesMAE SAI, Thailand — Thai authorities overseeing the rescue operation for 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped in a flooded cave in the country's north said they have a "limited amount of time" to get them out, as they raced Friday against worsening weather and lowered oxygen levels in the underground complex.

Rescuers in race against timeBy The Nation Pilots of the 41st Aviation Battalion are preparing As of press time , the SEALs were already 200 metres from a T-junction inside the cave . * The Royal Thai Navy’s SEALs set up a forward command in the third chamber of the Tham Luang cave .

A massive international operation to search for 12 boys and their football coach in a flooded Thai cave made agonising progress as rescuers battled muddy torrents in almost total darkness, in a race - against - time to find the lost children.

'He was a triathlete'

Kunan's death had changed the mood on the ground and made real for rescuers just how dangerous the mission has become.

"Definitely you can feel it that it has an effect, but we're moving on. Everyone is a professional so we're trying to put it away and avoid it happening again," said Finnish volunteer diver Mikko Paasi, a long-term resident of Thailand.

"Everybody is focusing on getting these boys out -- keeping them alive or getting them out."

The UK divers who first reached the boys described their dive as "gnarly" and full of tight passages submerged with opaque waters. Authorities have been considering teaching the boys to breathe through full-face oxygen masks to be pulled out. It takes even the most experienced divers up to five hours to swim through jagged, narrow channels from where the boys are to safety outside.

The death of Kunan, an experienced diver, in the cave system underlines the inherent risks in attempting to move the boys, who are physically weak after days without food.

Divers have been delivering oxygen tanks to the boys, and placing them at intervals along the flooded tunnel.© Linh Pham Divers have been delivering oxygen tanks to the boys, and placing them at intervals along the flooded tunnel.

One of Kunan's longtime friends, Sgt. Anuram Kaewchano, told CNN he was shocked to learn the news.

Thai schoolboys not ready for underwater escape

  Thai schoolboys not ready for underwater escape Authorities in Thailand say that they will not immediately attempt an underwater evacuation of 12 schoolboys who have been trapped in a cave for almost two weeks because they have not learned adequate diving skills in the few days since searchers reached the area where they are sheltering. The official in immediate charge of the operation, Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn, indicated strongly at a midnight news conference that if heavy rains started and appeared to be causing flooded areas in the cave to rise again, they would try to take the boys out with divers right away.

Rescuers desperately fighting to free a young football team from a cave in Thailand face a race against time as flood waters rise. The 12 boys and their football coach have been stranded Tham Luang Nang Non since June 23 and were found on Monday.

Rescuers in Thailand were racing against time to extricate a youth soccer team trapped in partially flooded cave in advance of heavy rains Thai officials carry oxygen tanks through a cave complex during a rescue operation for a missing soccer team at the Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai, Thailand

"I can't believe this happened," he told CNN by phone. "He was very fit, he exercised every day, and he was a triathlete. Our last trip together was to Malaysia."

He added that the last time the two spoke, "we talked about the kids -- whether they were out yet."

SEAL chief Yookongkaew said Kunan may have passed out, causing him to drown, "but we have to wait for the autopsy."

"Diving is always full of risks," he said.

A military aircraft will carry Kunan's body from Chiang Rai to Satthahip Navy Base Friday evening. A funeral service will take place there, and then at his home town in the province of Roi Et, northern Thailand.

Former Thai Navy SEAL Saman Kunan, who died in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex during a massive rescue operation to save 12 boys and their soccer coach.© Facebook Former Thai Navy SEAL Saman Kunan, who died in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex during a massive rescue operation to save 12 boys and their soccer coach.

Related: Friends say boys ignored warnings

Pornphimon Pansurin, a counselor from the nearby Darunrat School who teaches Ekarat Wongsukjan, one of the missing boys, said the missing boys may feel responsible for the tragedy.

"If they learn about what has happened they will blame themselves," she told CNN. "They will feel very guilty."

International operation

The members of the Wild Boar soccer team were reported missing on June 23 when they didn't return from an outing after soccer practice. They entered the cave during fine weather but became trapped when a sudden downpour flooded the narrow tunnels.

The 12 boys and their coach were found deep inside the cave by two British cave divers on Monday, perched on a rock slab above flood waters, after nine days without food or fresh water.

Rescue teams have been pumping millions of liters of water from the cave in an attempt to lower water levels to the extent that the boys can simply walk out. However more rain is forecast this weekend, putting pressure on rescuers to act soon or have to contend with even higher water levels inside the cramped chambers.

Related: Satellite images show rain forecast in Chiang Rai

Thailand's monsoon season runs from July to October and, while the past few days have been relatively dry, the long term forecast is rain for months.

CNN's Kocha Olarn reported from Chiang Rai, Euan McKirdy reported from Hong Kong and Angela Dewan reported from London. CNN's David McKenzie, Rebecca Wright, Karla Cripps and Jo Shelley, and interns Pia Deshpande and Jessie Yeung contributed to this report.

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