US Military Joins Efforts to Rescue Thai Soccer Team Trapped in Cave
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By David E. Hubler
Contributor, EDM Digest
Thirty members of U.S. Pacific Command on Thursday joined three British divers in the search for 12 schoolboys and their soccer coach who are believed to be trapped by floodwaters in a cave in Thailand, Reuters reported.
The British divers arrived in Thailand on Wednesday and “went straight from the plane into the cave to make an assessment,” said Major Buncha Duriyapan, commander of the 37th Military District in Chiang Rai.
On Thursday, the U.S. military team arrived with equipment to penetrate the cave walls, according to Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan.
Working Around the Clock to Rescue Thai Soccer Team
The boys, all between 11 and 16 years old, and their 25-year-old assistant coach went missing on June 23.
Some 1,000 Thai navy SEAL divers, police, soldiers, border guards and officials are involved in a round-the-clock rescue effort. The cave is located in a remote, mountainous area near the Laos and Myanmar borders, according to CBS News.
Rescuers Plan to Drill a Shaft as an Alternate Entrance for Finding Missing Team
The rescuers plan to drill a shaft into the cave from the top of the Tham Luang cave complex in northern Chiang Rai province. The shaft will create an alternative entrance for rescue workers, Major Buncha Duriyapan told Reuters.
Rescue teams, including Thailand’s elite navy SEAL unit, have so far focused on a seven-kilometer-long route at the cave’s entrance. They believe the boys and their coach took this route to enter the cave.
The rescue teams also searched the top of the mountain for alternative entrances to the cave, according to a Reuters reporter at the scene. They planned to examine a one-kilometer path to the right of the cave.
Heavy rains and flooding inside the cave have hampered search efforts. But authorities say they’re optimistic that the group is still alive.
Local Monk Comforts Family Members of Missing Thai Soccer Team
A Buddhist monk led family members who had gathered at the scene in prayers. “Observe your breath in this place of love. Love between mother, father and child,” the monk told the relatives. “Do not worry and wait for good news.”