Thailand cave

Royal Thai Navy Facebook Page via AP

Threat Of More Rain Pressures Rescuers To Get Boys Out Of Thai Cave

July 07, 2018 - 12:03 pm
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MAE SAI, Thailand (WCBS 880/AP) -- The Thai governor in charge of rescuing 12 boys and their soccer coach from a cave says the cooperating weather and falling water levels over the last few days have created conditions for extraction that won't continue if it rains again.

Chiang Rai Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn says authorities are waiting for two big groups of volunteer divers to arrive later Saturday and Sunday, after which they'll be ready to begin the operation of bringing them out.

“The plan that I've held on to from the beginning is that we have to bring the kids out and the determining factor of this plan is to have as little water as possible,” Osatanakorn explained.

He says floodwaters have been drained as much as possible, “but if it rains and adds to it again, we don't know what other risk factors we will have to face.” He also warned about higher carbon dioxide levels in the cave.

Earlier in the week, the boys and their soccer coach were able to send words to their families that they were doing well.

“To the parents of all the kids, right now the kids are all fine, the crew are taking good care,” the 25-year-old coach wrote. “I promise I will care for the kids as best as possible. I want to say thanks for all the support and I want to apologize to the parents.”

The boys wrote to their families in a joint letter, telling them not to worry and that “everybody is healthy.” Some asked about birthday celebrations, some said they were worried about homework and others said they were looking forward to eating their favorite foods again.

For almost two weeks, authorities have been pumping water from the caves and it seemed that the lull in the rains would allow the boys to “walk out.”

However, weather forecasters now predict heavy rains to begin again on Saturday and last throughout the week, creating a sense of urgency to rescue the boys sooner rather than later.