Although it could be some time before the 13 survivors of the Tham Luang cave ordeal will see the light of the day, Navy SEAL commander Rear Admiral Arpakorn Yookongkaew gave an assurance today that they will all eventually be returned safely to their families.
Speaking at a press briefing at about 5.15 pm today, Rear Admiral Arpakorn said that the first option was to drain as much water as possible out of the cave to bring down the water level to the lowest level possible and move the 13 survivors out toward the main cave entrance.
However, he expressed confidence the water level in the cave would not be as high as it was in the last couple of days and that the 12 boys and their coach would be safely returned to the embrace of their families.
The SEAL commander said that all of the survivors were in good health and were being taken care of by seven SEAL members, including a doctor and a nurse. “Don’t worry, they now have people to talk to,” he said.
He said that they were given high-energy and easily digestible food and mineral salts, adding that substances that absorb carbon dioxide were also brought in by SEAL teams to purify the air where the survivors were resting while awaiting evacuation.
He said a land-line telephone cable was being installed to allow them to communicate with their families.
Maj-Gen Bancha Duriyaphan, commander of 37th military circle, said officials had successfully punched a hole through the cave wall and drained water out of Sai Thong cave, adding that this would serve as a water catchment area if there is water flowing into the cave from the outside.
He disclosed that since June 30 more than 130 million litres of wanter had been drained out of the cave.
In the meantime, officials stepped up their efforts to drain more water out of the inner cave to clear the way for possible evacuation of the 13 survivors out of the cave through the main cave entrance.