Thai and foreign divers made more progress Sunday toward an area of a partially flooded cave complex in northern Thailand where 12 boys and their soccer coach are believed to have been trapped for over a week.
Chiang Rai Gov. Narongsak Osottanakorn, who is in charge of the search operation, said drainage of flood water from Tham Luang Cave in Chiang Rai province in the last few days has helped the rescue teams advance toward the large, dry cavern nicknamed “Pattaya Beach.”
Also aiding the effort is the fact that the divers, who were earlier forced to navigate passages filled with muddy water, are now working in clearer water, he said.
Other teams are looking for shafts in the mountainside that would allow access to the cavern from above.
Thai Navy SEALs said Sunday that some 60 divers of various nationalities have successfully set up an operation command in an area known as “chamber three” deep inside the cave.
The distance from chamber three to Pattaya Beach is about 3 kilometers, with the divers already having covered about 600 meters as of Sunday evening.
The divers are placing oxygen tanks every 25 meters until reaching the destination chamber to allow them to stay underwater longer.
The search has involved military, police and other personnel as well as experts from Britain, Japan, Laos, Sweden, China, the Philippines and the United States.
The boys, aged between 11 and 16, and their 25-year-old male coach entered the cave on June 23 after soccer practice. It is unclear how much, if any, food they had with them.
The search began on June 24 but was initially hampered by incessant rain and flooding inside the cave. – KYODO NEWS
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