Eight Australian divers are involved in the hazardous attempt to rescue a group of boys trapped in a Thailand cave for two weeks.
The divers entered the Chiang Rai cave on an 11-hour round trip to rescue the 12 boys and their soccer coach at 10am on Sunday (1300 AEST).
They are planning for two divers to accompany each boy back to the surface through the four kilometres of tight, muddy, water-filled passageways, some of which are less than a metre in diameter.
Six of the divers are with the Australian Federal Police, while another is an anaesthetist from Adelaide along with his diving partner.
A spokesperson for Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the anaesthetist entered the cave on Saturday to check the boys’ health and has been working closely with on-site doctors.
The other divers in the 13-man team are British and American. They are joined by five Thai divers said to be crucial for communication purposes.
Australian media at the scene said the anaesthetist was called in at the request of British divers on the scene who were familiar with his expertise.
He has extensive cave-diving experience and it’s understood he’s acting as a private citizen.
The Australian divers, in support of the Royal Thai navy, have been deployed under the Australian Medical Assistance Teams humanitarian program.
This takes the total number of Australians from DFAT, Defence and AFP involved in the rescue operation to 19. – AAP