As rescue teams are weighing options on how to take the 13 survivors out of Tham Luang cave, outgoing Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn today floated the possibility of the boys being extracted one at a time as it would be difficult for them to be brought out together at the same time.
He said the extraction plan is being adjusted because there would be difficulty bringing all the 12 young footballers and their coach out simultaneously even if they are physically healthy. The scenario is apparently based on the assumption that they may have to dive their way out of the flooded cave.
Nonetheless, the governor stressed that draining water out of the cave still remains top priority. The rescue teams have been working around the clock to drain the flood waters out and block water from outside from flowing into the cave.
He said officials had found two spots where water had been flowing into the cave – one on the northern part of the cave which has already been sealed by troops and another point on the southern side of the cave, national park officials have built a dyke to divert waterflow to other direction.
Third Army Region deputy commander Maj-Gen Chalongchai Thaiyakham, meanwhile, said at a media briefing that reinforcements from the 21st Infantry Regiment and special forces had arrived at the cave to support the Navy SEALs’ operation by carrying equipment and other necessities from the cave entrance to the forward command at Chamber 3 – about three kilometres deep into the cave from the entrance.
Mr Chongkhlai Worapongsathorn, deputy director-general of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, said officials had located a major water source that feeds water into the cave.
He said the Pha Mee and Pha Hee creeks merge together to form Huay Makok creek and 50 percent of the water from this creek was found to have disappeared underground into the cave through cracks on the ground.
Officials and villagers have now built a dike and installed six water pipes to divert waterflow away from the cracks and it is expected that about 10,000 litres of water will be diverted every hour.
Meanwhile, CAT officials have installed phone lines to Chamber 1 and they hope to be able to extend the phone lines up to Chamber 3 today covering a total distance of 1.5 km and later on to the mound where the 13 survivors are taking refuge with a SEAL medical team.