13 Missing In Thailand Cave Found After 9 Days, Could Spend Months In Cave Before Rescue

| July 3 , 2018 , 14:29 IST

After 9 days of searching, 12 boys and their football coach trapped in a cave in Thailand were found alive on Monday night. However, the 13 may be forced to wait for months for the flooding to recede before they get out, or else learn diving in the dark, the army said on Tuesday.

The missing group was found by divers late on Monday on a small dry ledge after the divers navigated a series of sharp, narrow bends in near darkness, finding the boys around 400 metres away.   

The boys aged between 11 and 16 years and their 25-year-old coach went missing on June 23, prompting a massive search. It's believed that the group entered the cave when it was dry while they were on a field trip, but sudden heavy rains blocked the exit, with rushing water clogging the narrow passages with mud and debris, restricting visibility and access. The rock shelf where they were found was approximately 4km from the mouth of the cave.

The Tham Luang cave complex in northern Thailand's Chiang Rai is regularly flooded during the rainy season which lasts till September or October.

Based on the conditions inside, it would be an extremely dangerous task to bring the trapped boys to safety, and the boys would have to learn basic diving skills. Even if they learn, according to experts, it would be very risky to bring inexperienced divers through the dangerous corridors of muddy, zero-visibility waters.

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Meanwhile, rescuers are battling rising water to bring more supplies to the trapped group, and attempts are being made to install power and telephone lines inside the cave.

Rescuers are now battling rising water to bring more supplies to the group. The military indicated that the group may have to have food sent in for at least the next 4 months, if they wait for the water to recede.

Attempts to reduce the water level by pumping have so far been unsuccessful.

Other teams are scouring the mountainside hoping to find another way into the cave where the boys and their coach have taken refuge.