Authorities are racing against the clock to rescue 12 trapped Thai boys and their football coach trapped in a cave in Thailand, saying they may attempt to evacuate the group before a fresh round of monsoon rains expected this week.
This comes as two international divers, Rick Stanton and John Volanthen, have been able to reach the trapped team, according to reports by the Associated Press.
The group had been missing since finishing football practice on 23 June, and were found alive late on Monday after a nine-day search. Soldiers, medics and rescue workers from all around the world have come together in aid of the rescue attempts.
Weather not helping
Now that the trapped Thai boys have been located, the team of rescue workers is racing against the clock to get the boys out of the cave – proving somewhat of a challenge due to the confined space – before the weather turns bad.
“As rain is forecast in the next few days, the evacuation must speed up. Diving gear will be used. If the water rises, the task will be difficult. We must bring the kids out before then,” says Anupong Paojinda, the interior minister, according to the Bangkok Post. “Diving is not easy. Those who have never done it will find it difficult, because there are narrow passages in the cave. They must be able to use diving gear. If the gear is lost at any moment, it can be dangerous to life.”
The Guardian reports that the children were found in a weakened state but none were critically injured, according to officials. Doctors have visited them and workers have delivered energy gels to the group in an attempt to boost their strength. Meals of pork and rice in sealed containers were being prepared. The group is between 800 metres and 1km below the surface, and roughly 2km inside the cave.