Bangkok, July 5 (IANS) Rescuers in Thailand are racing against the weather to free 12 boys and their football coach trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand.
“We were racing against time before we found them. Now we are racing against weather,” Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn said at a press conference on Thursday morning.
Heavy rains are expected to hit the Chiang Rai region soon and could see water levels rise, threatening the area of the Tham Luang cave complex, where the group has taken refuge, the BBC reported.
Chiang Rai has for the past few days experienced a brief window of dry weather.
Rescuers were now considering how best to bring the group to safety.
If the rain stops for long enough, there is a possibility that the group could walk out of the Tham Luang cave complex, or be floated out – rather than having to dive, according to Narongsak.
The total journey from the cave’s entrance to the trapped group currently takes a total of 11 hours – six hours in and five hours back out.
About 128 million litres of water had been pumped out by Thursday, with the water levels coming down at an average rate of 1.5 cm per hour, reports the BBC.
The boys, aged between 11 and 16, and their 25-year-old coach went missing on June 23. It is believed they entered the cave when it was dry and sudden heavy rains blocked the exit.
They were found on a rock shelf about 4 km from the mouth of the cave on Monday night by two British rescuer divers.
The cave complex is regularly flooded during the monsoon season which lasts until September or October.