Drill exposes shortcomings which need to be fixed: Governor

There were several shortcomings in the evacuation drill conducted at the Tham Luang cave site this morning which need to be fixed, Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn said after an assessment of the exercise.

The drill simulated a situation of evacuation starting from the survivors being brought out of the cave, taken onto ambulances, screened of their conditions and delivery to waiting helicopters.

The conditions of the survivors are classified into 13 levels with the first 1-12 levels being classified as normal and the 13th as “red” which requires utmost attention.

The governor said the drill confronted organizational problems, such as the first ambulance could not get out of the cave area because the road was blocked by other vehicles which are not involved in the search and rescue operations and that ambulances from outside the locality were not familiar with the route to the cave.

“If the real evacuation is confronted by similar problems that ambulance cannot get in or out and the doctors and nurses have to take a walk, then we will be exhausted. These problems, though minor, should serve as a lesson,” said the governor.

The governor also pleaded with the media to exercise caution in their news presentation, especially regarding interviews with experts or academics.

“If necessary, do not livestream especially on some issues,” said the governor, adding he might invite some media people out of the area if they continue to defy his warnings.

Meanwhile, two huge Phayanark water pumps sent from Nakhon Pathom arrived at Tham Luang cave Friday night and two more are expected today to help speed up the draining of water out of the cave.

Chiang Rai public relations office on Saturday livestreamed in its Facebook page the operation of one of the four giant water pumps which was already installed outside the cave.

An official manning the water pump said that the water pump was capable of draining water faster and with bigger amount of water than the previous ones.

“I would like to see the footballers so I brought the water pumps here,” said an official manning the pump, claiming that it could pump water out of a pond which is two and a half rai in size and about two metres deep in just one and a half hours.