A Thai football team, consisting of twelve 11-16 year old boys and their coach, have finally been located in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex. They have been missing for nine days, but may still remain trapped for another four months.
The team entered the cave on June 23rd, and became trapped by flood waters. The cave is a tourist attraction, which visitors access through crossing a small stream. It is believed that the team entered the cave as part of a field trip. Three Brits: John Volanthen, Richard Stanton and Robert Harper located the team on July 2nd. Mr Volanthen and Mr Stanton are part of the South and Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team. In order to find the team, they had to swim for three hours through several passages. They searched for the group at Pattaya Beach, an elevated mound, but instead found them 400km away after they realised it was flooded. On finding the team, the two British men alerted them that “many more are coming.” One of the replies back was “thank you so much.”
However, hopes for a speedy rescue mission were dashed by the search team. The Tham Luang cave complex experiences severe flooding during monsoon season, which finishes in October. In order for the group to come out of the cave quickly, they would have to be taught basic diving skills as well as how to swim. However, experts have warned that this is a “last resort” due to the dangerous conditions of the cave. Another possible solution would be to drill holes in the cave walls to drain some of the excess water. However, new roads would have to be built to assist the drilling equipment, and in order to drill in the right place, extensive knowledge of the cave is needed. The most viable solution is to provide the team with food, water and oxygen. Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osottanakorn stated that authorities would carry on draining water out of the cave, whilst also sending medical staff in to check the health of the team.
As rescue plans are discussed, parents of the team are ecstatic that their children have been found. Aisha Wiboonrungrueng, the mother of eleven year old Chanin Wiboonrungrueng, said that she is ‘looking forward to making her son a Thai omelette’ when he returns. After starving for nine days already, food is high on the agenda for the team, as well as a safe return to their homes.