Rain Forecast Complicates Rescue of Thai Soccer Team

Rain Forecast Complicates Rescue of Thai Soccer Team

Rain Forecast Complicates Rescue of Thai Soccer Team

The SEALs have also started to pump oxygen into the chamber.

The 12 boys and their football coach were found alive on Monday night.

It was unclear what the options were to get the "Wild Boar" team out of the Tham Luang caves in Chiang Rai Province and how they would be steered through tight, fluid conditions and uncertain weather.

About 128 million litres of water had been pumped out by Thursday, with the water levels coming down at an average rate of 1.5cm per hour.

The 10-km Tham Luang complex in Chiang Rai is relatively unexplored and includes narrow, dark passages.

Whitehouse said the method has been done on other cave rescues, although Thai officials have so far not mentioned this option.

At one point in the video, the boys laugh in response to an apparent joke made by a member of the rescue team. "We want to evacuate all 13 people as soon as possible but I don't want to specify any day and date", Thai junta leader Prayut Chan-ocha (seen in this picture) said.

Thailand's king says he is "pleased and greatly relieved" that rescuers have found the 12 boys and their soccer coach who were missing in a cave in the country's mountainous north.

The boys are taking shelter on a ledge surrounded by water more than a mile from the cave's main entrance, and about half a mile below the surface.

A team of Thai Navy SEAL divers - including a medic - have joined them on the bank, while rescuers pour over evacuation plans from the Tham Luang cave complex in northern Thailand before heavy rains return and raise the water level.

In an attempt to maintain the boys' morale, rescue teams have prioritized installing a line of communication between the boys and their parents. On Thursday, CNN saw an old-style military phone and loops of cable being carried into the cave by engineers.

As part of a desperate attempt to save the boys, Thai authorities are also trying to confirm whether there is a secret passage to safety.

"We are drawing our jungle trekking resources together".

Governor Osatanakorn said 30 teams are searching for a potential airhole, adding there must be some ventilation which has been supplying the footballers with air.

"Now we are going to walk around that area to search every inch, (to see if) there are chimneys or holes where we can climb down, and we may adjust our plan". "Because that would mean there is livestock nearby or at least a forest which would make an alternative entrance possible".

Why is a rescue attempt so unsafe? But experts have warned that this could take a long time.

But with rain forecast to begin on Friday, the Chiang Rai provincial governor helming the unprecedented rescue effort conceded the mission was now "a race against the water".

"We are draining out as much as our capacity allows".

The hope is for more water to be drained so the boys get some headroom and are not reliant on scuba apparatus for a long stretch.

Osottanakorn said rescuers were at the mercy of the rainy season, and may have to act quickly to beat fresh downpours. On Thursday morning, he again declined to give a specific timeframe for when they can be brought out.

But heavy monsoon rains are forecast for Sunday.

The group consists of Dr Pak Loharnshoon, who had graduated from the navy Seals training course, a nurse from the Royal Thai Navy's underwater and hyperbaric medi-cine unit, and seven members of the Thai navy Seals.

Ben Reymenants described the cave network as a labyrinth of small passages and says the dive is one of his top three most risky.

The Australians on the ground "remain closely engaged in efforts to support and sustain the group, as well as in planning".

A video shared by the Thai Navy captured their first contact.

With the boys still trapped in the cave system experts are working round the clock to get them out - a rescue that has involved pumping out gallons of water.

An worldwide team of rescuers, including six Specialist Response Group members of the Australian Federal Police, are helping in the rescue operation.

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