Thailand: Teams Battle Water Levels As Rescue Operation Continues

Thai police guard the entrance to a cave complex where 12 boys and their soccer coach went missing, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand, Sunday, July 1, 2018. The frantic effort to locate them in the cave for a week picked up pace as a break in the rain eased flooding in the system of caverns and more experts from around the world joined the anxious rescue mission. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Rescue teams are battling the water levels to rescue the soccer team and their coach who are trapped in a large cave in Thailand. The heavy rains have slowed down the rescue efforts and experts say they are expected to hit again.

The rains threaten the rescue operation and the lives of the group. The cave they are trapped in is partially flooded and more rain could increase the water levels. The group is in a section of the cave but the first video that confirmed they are alive showed that they are surrounded by water.

The group has been in the cave for 12 days. They were found by two British rescuers on Monday but reports say that the rescue could take a while. The boys and coach have received food, blankets and medical treatment as they wait for rescue teams to get them out.

Water Levels Have Decreased With Pumps

The rescue operation was slowed down by heavy rains early on but the region has not seen much rain in recent days. Rescue teams have brought in industrial pumps to get the water out as quickly as possible. The first attempts to get the water out didn’t work since it was raining but they are now working to get as much of it out without the rain.

Rescue teams are now able to enter parts of the cave with some of the water out. The challenge now is to get them out fast. The governor of the region said they were racing against water since rains are forecast for the weekend.

Rainy Season

The Tham Luang cave has a stream nearby that blocks it when there is heavy rains in the area. The cave is partially flooded during the rainy season, which began last month and ends in October.

There is also questions on how to get the group out since part of the cave is flooded. Rescue teams are looking at the possibility of floating them out but that still can’t be done since the water levels are not low enough yet. Rescue teams are also looking at other options that can make the rescue easier. Thai Navy Seal divers have started teaching the group the basics of diving. Floating them out is a difficult option since the journey to the entrance would take hours.