Rescue operation appears imminent as media ordered out of cave areas

In what is seen as an indication that the operation to extract the 13 survivors trapped in Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai is imminent, authorities ordered all the hundreds of journalists and cameramen out of the rescue command centre in front of the cavern as more rescue teams, medical personnel and ambulances arrived this morning.

The order was issued by the police who said the evacuation is necessary to facilitate the rescue mission but gave no details. They said the order was issued under the law on public disaster mitigation.

Thai PBS news teams at Tham Luang cave reported that 13 ambulances have been put on standby while an additional 50 Navy SEAL team members were brought in.

Authorities have estimated that there are now more than 1,000 media personnel from all around the world covering the rescue operation.  They were seen this morning moving out with their equipment from the rescue operation center located at the mouth of the cave to another location nearby.

Narongsak Osotthanakorn, chief of the rescue operation, admitted yesterday that the looming monsoon rains are forcing rescuers to consider launching a rescue operation sooner than planned.  It is widely speculated that the 12 young soccer players and their coach will have to dive their way out to freedom before the cave is flooded.

Diving experts have warned of risks associated with such endeavor given the fact that the survivors have no diving experience and the treacherous nature of the passageways through which they have to dive.   Narongsak said that more international cave divers have arrived to help with the rescue mission