News & Opinion | July 3, 2018 9:05 am

Thai Gov’t Turns to Navy SEALS to Rescue Boys’ Soccer Team Trapped in Cave

The 12 boys and their coach have been stuck in a partially flooded cavern for more than 10 days.

soccer team
A family member shows a picture of four of the twelve missing boys near the Tham Luang cave at the Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in Mae Sai on July 2, 2018. (LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA / AFP)
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Thai authorities are working on the best way to extract the 12 boys and their soccer coach who are trapped inside a partially-flooded cave in northern Thailand. The final attempts will involve the assistance of a Navy SEAL team, says Chiang Rai Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn. One option being considered is for the group to be taught to swim using special breathing masks. Other efforts include draining water from the cave and exploring the mountainside for shafts and other entrances to the caverns below. Experts have said that the safest option appears to be re-supplying the boys and their coach with food and water until the water level drops far enough for them to more easily swim out.

Everything depends on how difficult the dives are. Anmar Mirza, the U.S. National Cave Rescue Commission coordinator, said “Trying to take non-divers through a cave is one of the most dangerous situations possible, even if the dives are relatively easy.” But if the dives are difficult then “supply will be difficult, but the risk of trying to dive them out is also exponentially greater.”

The soccer team was missing for more than a week when they were found in the cave. None are in critical condition according to an “informal” medical evaluation inside the cave.