Bangkok, July 4: A group of 10 soldiers will remain with the 12 children and their coach trapped in a partially flooded cave in Thailand until they are rescued, the authorities said on Wednesday. Ruetaiwan Patisen, spokesperson for the rescue teams, told Efe news that the children are in good health, despite going 10 days without eating and that the soldiers will stay with them until they are rescued from the cave located in Chiang Rai province. As soon as they recover their strength, the children will begin to learn how to scuba dive to get out of the cave in which they have been trapped since June 23. “There is no rush,” said Patisen, adding that the children and their coach will leave when they are ready and it is safe for them to dive along narrow flooded caves towards the exit located about 3 km away.
At the moment, the school children, aged between 11 and 16, together with their 26-year-old soccer coach, are being fed energy supplements and vitamins. Authorities said they believe that the rescue effort could last from a week to a few months. According to Ruetaiwan, the teams take between three and four hours to travel the 3 km between the entrance and the place where the group is stranded through flooded passages and narrow corridors that are above the water.
Some had begun to lose hope until Monday night when a team of two British divers found the cave with children and their coach who then asked what day of the week it was and for food. Around 1,300 personnel have participated in the search and rescue efforts at the Tham Luang-Khun Nam Nang Non National Park, close to the border with Myanmar, since the incident came to light on June 23. The group was found after days of intense efforts by elite troops, rescue workers and volunteers, including experts from the US, Japan, China and Australia.
According to the authorities, the missing children and their coach went into the cave on June 23 after a training session when a sudden storm began to flood the cavity and blocked the exit. The park rangers who activated the emergency mission found bicycles, footwear and other belongings of the missing team at the cave entrance. (IANS)