The efforts to locate the 12 missing members of a youth football team trapped in a flooded cave system continue with divers having progressed closer to where the boys are believed to be trapped.
On Saturday 24th June, divers from the Royal Thai Navy Underwater Demolition Assault Unit started searching a cave system in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai province of Thailand after 12 members of a youth football team were reported missing.
Following the initial alert, rescue workers began a search and located sports equipment and bicycles outside the entrance of the cave.
The group made up of boys, aged between 11 and 16, and their coach entered the underground system. It is believed they became trapped following heavy rains which flooded a stream near the cave’s entrance.
Pumps were later brought in to reduce water levels, but further rain rendered this approach futile.
Local experts believe there are other entrances to the cave system although locating these is difficult due to the dense forest and mountainous terrain.
Initial optimism has been tempered by the heavy rain that has fallen in the area. A major pumping exercise has seen up to 10,000 litres of water per minute being pumped out which has reduced the water rising so rapidly.
It is also known that the team were not equipped for a long stay underground which has led to concerns over the ultimate outcome.
Thai Navy divers have been joined by specialist dive teams from the United Kingdom and from the US Navy.
Image for illustration. Photo by Pete Nawrocky.