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By David E. Hubler
Contributor, EDM Digest
Having discovered the 12 Thai young soccer players and their coach alive after 10 days trapped in a cave, rescuers now face the difficult task of finding a way to free them.
The group was found by a team of Thai and British divers at about 9:45 Monday evening. The boys and their coach were huddled together on a small patch of dry ground, surrounded by water in a cramped, pitch-black chamber, CNN reported.
Chiang Rai province governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn told the Bangkok Post that divers brought food, mineral salts, electrolyte-laced liquids, painkillers and antibiotics. These provisions will allow the youngsters and their coach to build back their strength.
Royal Thai Navy Capt. Akanand Surawan said authorities would now supply the group with four months' worth of food. The boys will also be taught how to scuba dive.
Rescue Operations for Soccer Team May Be Delayed Due to Heavy Rains
According to CNN reporters Steve George and Kocha Olarn, the four-month timeframe could signal that authorities are considering waiting until the rainy season ends in October to begin the risky rescue operation.
“The area in which the group remains stranded is only accessible via a narrow, flooded channel, and attempts to pump water from the cave, or find a natural opening in the roof of the chamber, have so far proved unsuccessful,” the reporters explained.
“But with heavy rain expected to continue in the coming days, rising water levels could force rescuers to act sooner rather than later,” they added.
The boys are about two kilometers (1.2 miles) into the cave and somewhere between 800 meters to one kilometer (0.6 miles) below the surface, Bill Whitehouse, vice chairman of the British Cave Rescue Council, told CNN on Tuesday. The British Cave Rescue Council helped spearhead the search of the Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand.
More than 1,000 international volunteers, including a 30-member team from the U.S. Pacific Command, took part in the rescue efforts. Rescue work began soon after the group disappeared into the cave on June 23.