Trapped boys taught to dive in cave
Rescue teams in northern Thailand were giving crash courses in swimming and diving on Wednesday as part of complex preparations to extract a young soccer squad trapped in a cave, and hoping for a swift end to their harrowing 11-day ordeal.
Thai rescuers vowed to take a no-risk approach to freeing 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave, as fresh video emerged on Wednesday showing the team in good spirits following their astonishing discovery nine days after going missing.
Freeing the boys from the still-submerged cave complex is expected to be a protracted process, fraught with challenges for a group who are not divers and some of whom are believed to be unable to swim.
Divers, medics, counsellors and Thai Navy Seals were with the 12 schoolboys and their coach, 25, providing medicines and food while experts assessed conditions for getting them out safely – a task the government said would be difficult.
“The water is very strong and space is narrow.
“Extracting the children takes a lot of people,” Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said.
“Now we are teaching the children to swim and dive,” he said.
If water levels fell and the flow weakened, they would be taken out quickly.
By late on Tuesday, about 120 megalitres of water had been pumped out, or about 1.6Ml every hour.
It was unclear what the options were to get the “Wild Boar” team out of the Tham Luang caves in Chiang Rai province and how they would be steered through tight, fluid conditions and uncertain weather.
Experts say divers need three hours to reach the boys, 4km from the cave mouth.
About 30 divers in wetsuits were seen preparing kit and heading for the caves on Wednesday, accompanied by military personnel and a foreign cave expert.
A Seals video showed two rescuers in an elevated part of the cave beside boys wrapped in foil blankets who appeared to be in good spirits, occasionally laughing.