Thailand is in the midst of its monsoon season and while Monday was relatively dry, the rains returned on Tuesday. Huge pumps have been running to drain the cave complex, but any downpour could potentially set back bids to free the team .
Experienced divers negotiated tight, flooded channels to reach the team over nine days. Navigating this difficult terrain, “whos also” pitch black and may involve struggling against fast-flowing, muddied water in some areas, will be difficult.
Bill Whitehouse, vice chairman of the British Cave Rescue Council, told “all feasible options for the rescue of the boys are being considered.”
One possible extraction method being explored is diving the youth team to security — though it is perhaps one of the least preferable strategies .
Experts have cautioned that any attempt to traverse the confined passages will be fraught with difficulties and potential complications, especially if the children can’t swim.
“Cave diving is unbelievably dangerous for people who are very experienced doing it. And now you’re looking at taking people who have no experience or very little experience with diving, and putting them into a complete blackout situation, where they have to rely on a regulator and the tanks with them to inhale, ” Anmar Mirza, a cave rescue expert, told CNN.
Mirza, a member of the US National Cave Rescue Commission, instead suggested the safest option would be to remain in place and continue to provide the boys with renders until water levels drop or a new entrance is observed .
Why are they being sent four months after food?
Capt. Akanand Surawan, a commander with the Royal Thai Navy, said authorities will supply the team with four months’ worth of food. Surawan’s reference to four months has been interpreted as a potential sign that authorities are considering waiting until the rainy season ends in October.
But sticking it out until the climate improves “may not be an option” on the basis of the porous rock type found inside the cave network, according to Tim Taylor, an experienced ocean explorer and expert on underwater robotics.
“It’s a giant sponge so if the water rises anywhere on the water table, it affects the whole cave system, ” Taylor explained.
Taylor suggested that there is hope in spite of the perilous conditions.
“You don’t have to swim to dive. The equipment does the work for you — you just have to be comfortable … to overcome that fear and learn. That is what’s going to be difficult to teach, ” Taylor said .
“It’s not impossible … it’s not going to be done in a day. I would imagine they are going to take some time to develop these children, ” he added .
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