Why the Thai cave rescue is so tricky

Virginia Santiago
July 10, 2018

Rescuers in Thailand ended day two of their mission with four more boys freed from the Tham Luang caves on Monday.

Four more boys and their coach remain trapped inside the Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex.

Musk and his team hope the skinny sub will aid in the rescue of the remaining five members of the youth soccer team who are trapped in a cave, but if the rescuers succeed on their own, Musk sees the sub as a future tool in high-risk rescues.

The rescue started at 10 am Thai time and involved 13 worldwide divers and five Thai navy seals, who were described by Governor Narongsak as "an all-star team", reports the Daily Mail. Monsoon flooding blocked off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for nearly 10 days.

Musk also said that a second sub, which is apparently 30cm shorter than the first one designed, was nearly complete, meaning that more than one device would be available for the rescues.

Authorities had said that incoming monsoon rains that could send water levels in the cave rising, coupled with falling oxygen levels in the enclosed space, added to the urgency of getting those trapped out.

The only way to bring the boys and their coach out of the cave is by navigating dark and tight passageways filled with muddy water and strong currents, as well as oxygen-depleted air.

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When Sgt. -Maj. Saman Gunan, a former Thai navy Seal, died while laying oxygen tanks along the route out of the cave, people grieved and became fearful about what could lie ahead for the team.

The plight of the group has transfixed Thailand and the rest of the world, as authorities struggled to locate them and then devise a plan to get the boys and their coach out.

Soldiers arrive outside the Tham Luang cave complex in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand, July 8, 2018.

The Facebook page of the Thai Navy SEALs, who have been central to the rescue operation, was updated overnight to say "two days, eight boars" - a reference to the Wild Boars, the name of the boys' soccer team.

"I'm hoping for good news", he said.

Officials said that rescue operations could continue for two to four more days.

The same 12 divers, including several from the United Kingdom with "expertise in cave diving", conducted Monday's operation, and it was expected to be a quicker rescue than on Sunday as the divers are now familiar with the circumstances.

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Less than an hour after the helicopter took off, Thai public television aired live video of a medivac helicopter landing close to a hospital in the city of Chiang Rai, around 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the cave. However, they got trapped inside after heavy rains flooded the entrance of the cave.

"If something changes, we'll stop", he said.

Eight boys are still inside the cave and along with the team coach.

Narongsak said rescuers would meet Monday evening to plan for the next operation.

"I am still waiting here at the cave, keeping my fingers crossed to see whether my son will be one of those to come out today", Supaluk Sompiengjai, mother of Peerapat - known by his nickname "Night" - told AFP.

Musk said the aluminum shell of the so-called submarine had high thermal conductivity, meaning it is able to allow heat to pass through it easily, and therefore provide insulation to the person inside.

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