Latest News: Cave evacuation is set to begin

Soldiers carry a pump to help drain the rising flood water in a cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand Friday, July 6, 2018. Thai authorities are racing to pump out water from the flooded cave before more rains are forecast to hit the northern region. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

The Thai governor in charge of rescuing 12 boys and their soccer coach from a cave says the cooperating weather and falling water levels over the last few days have created conditions for extraction that won’t continue if it rains again.

Chiang Rai Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn said, at 1.30pm (July 7) that authorities are waiting for two big groups of volunteer divers to arrive later Saturday and Sunday, after which they’ll be ready to begin the operation of bringing them out.

He says: “The plan that I’ve held on to from the beginning is that we have to bring the kids out and the determining factor of this plan is to have as little water as possible.”

He says floodwaters have been drained as much as possible, “but if it rains and adds to it again, we don’t know what other risk factors we will have to face.”

He also warned about higher carbon dioxide levels in the cave.

Update

At 4pm (July 7) The governor announced, ”conditions are perfect” to evacuate a young football team from a flooded Thai cave in the coming days before fresh rains and a possible rise in carbon dioxide further imperil the group.

Rescuers have conceded that evacuating the boys is a race against time with monsoon rains expected to undo days of round-the-clock drainage of the deluged cave.

“Now and in the next three or four days, the conditions are perfect (for evacuation) in terms of the water, the weather and the boys’ health,” Narongsak Osottanakorn the chief of the rescue operation told reporters.

In the early hours of Saturday morning he said the boys were not yet ready to dive-out of the cave, a complex and dangerous task through twisting and jagged submerged passageways.

But his comments 12 hours later suggest the thinking has changed, with water levels inside the cave currently managed to their lowest point by constant drainage.

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