“Buddy dive” planned for Tham Luang rescue – news report

A proposed plan to rescue the “Wild Boars” soccer team trapped in Tham Luang cave could launch as soon as this weekend, according to ABC News. .

According to an internal U.S. government report obtained by ABC News, the Royal Thai navy, supported by divers from the United Kingdom, the United States and other nations, has briefed Thai military leadership, the Interior Ministry officials and the provincial governor on a proposed operation to evacuate the 12 boys and their coach from the cave alongside experienced divers, in what is being called a “buddy dive.” It said Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha would be briefed on the proposal today.

ABC said despite the risks, the accelerated timeline would take advantage of the children still having high oxygen levels within the cave complex, their relatively good health and also the fact that this would occur before the heavy rains are forecast to hit the region Sunday, which could raise water levels inside the cave and make a rescue mission even more precarious, according to the document.

But it said a decision timeline was unknown.

If approved, the first phase of the plan — which involves the ongoing process of staging equipment and clearing obstacles in the cave — could be completed by Saturday’s evening.  The second phase — which calls for dangerous and risky “buddy diving” of the soccer team, in which they would each be accompanied by an experienced diver out of the cave network — could start as early as Sunday morning.

U.S. dive and medical personnel will support the proposed operation by staging equipment and setting up triage stations, but will not go beyond the third chamber inside the cave, according to the document.

Narongsak Osotthanakorn, chief of the rescue operation centre, admitted this morning that the looming monsoon rains in the next few days are forcing rescue units to consider extracting the survivors out of the cave sooner than they have planned.  But he declined to go into specifics how this will be done.