Rescue teams in Thailand raced against the looming threat of more rain to pump out water from a flooded cave complex where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been stranded for almost two weeks.
The boys and their coach were found late Monday in weak but otherwise stable and good health in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in northern Thailand. But rescuers are having trouble deciding what is the best way to safely extract them, officials said Thursday.
"What we worry about most is the weather," Chiang Rai provincial Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn told reporters. "We can’t risk having the flood back into the cave."
Poonsak Woongsatngiem, an official from Thailand’s interior ministry, told the Guardian that the water had been reduced by 40% in the last few days, clearing a 5,000-foot stretch of cave that the boys would need to cross.
“We (are) target(ing) the water in the third chamber to reduce to the point that no diving equipment is needed, like to the waistline, so one can wear just life jackets and walk out,” Woongsatngiem said, according to the Guardian.
The boys are aged 11-16 and their coach is 25. However, not all of them can swim and some areas of the cave network where they disappeared after going exploring following a soccer game on June 23 are still flooded all the way to the ceiling.
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