Thai cave rescue: new extraction plan revealed for trapped soccer team


The current plan is to pump out enough water to allow them to keep their heads above water while escaping.

A video from the Thai Navy SEAL Facebook page shows the group several kilometers inside the 10-kilometer (6-mile) cave network on a small wedge of dry ground. He said the rescue teams are anxious about the water level in the cave and make calculations to determine the risk if more rain comes down and raises it further.

A medical assessment of the 12 boys and their football coach stuck in a cave in Northern Thailand has concluded that it is too risky to try to move the group out Thursday, according to a member of the Thai Navy SEALs who is not authorized to speak to the media. "Sawadee krap", each boy says with his palms together in wai, the traditional Thai greeting.

Thai boys smile as a medic treats scratches on one of the children trapped inside a cave in northern Thailand.

The boys, who range in age from 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach disappeared while exploring the cave complex in the northern province of Thailand after a soccer game on June 23.

The boys are being taught how to swim and dive so they can be escorted out by Navy divers if required, and authorities may also be considering drilling down into the cave.

Narongsak said the boys and their coach were found late Monday in weak but otherwise stable condition and good health.

But they will have to wait until the trapped Thai boys have eaten solid food and gained weight before a perilous swim to freedom can be attempted.

The two divers who found the boys are from the United Kingdom.

For now, officials are in the process of installing fiber optic lines inside the cave to the location of the boys so that they could have internet access to contact their families and loved ones, according to the deputy director of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation.

He said on Wednesday: 'Anyone who is ready first will be brought out.

The joyous news that the soccer team was found alive has been coupled with vexation over what to do next.

Khaosod English, a Bangkok-based news organization, reported that officials are calling for donations of small diving masks that would fit the boys, as regular diving equipment could be too risky.

Rescuers who reached a group of children trapped in a flooded Thai cave say finding them was the easy part; getting the youngsters out safely will be the real challenge.

Ideally, the water level would be lowered to no higher than the boys' waists, so they could walk out wearing life vests without needing to don scuba gear for what would be an extremely unsafe trip.

With rain and flooding on the forecast, the pressure to rescue the boys is on. "We are calculating how much time we have if it rains, how many hours and days", Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters, without providing further details.

Once his son is home, Tanawut said he will tell him "you are safe".

Authorities are evaluating their readiness each day and if there is any risk, will not proceed, he said.

Thai rescuers vowed to take a "no risk" approach to freeing 12 boys and their football coach from a flooded cave, as fresh video emerged Wednesday showing the team in good spirits following their astonishing discovery nine days after going missing.

Rafael, 53, who is from Israel but has lived in Thailand for more than 30 years, said he had been inside the cave 25 years ago and found that it was more hard to navigate than other caves he had tackled. The first is to provide them with supplies for the next four months - until the area's seasonal monsoons end - or find a way to guide them out using diving gear.

They must already be certified divers, and it takes a minimum of seven days of training before they can attempt a cave dive.

Only then will rescuers teach the group how to dive in their cave with the hope that they can manage the three-hour journey back to the outside world.