Thai cave rescue a success!
Pictured: Four Thai Navy Seals who helped rescue the entire soccer team (12 boys and their adult coach) trapped in a narrow water filled cave. After weeks of the world waiting to hear good news, the daring and heroic act of expert divers saves thirteen. “We are not sure if this is a miracle, a science [fiction] or what”, the divers wrote on Facebook.
Where: Thailand Tham Luang cave in the Chiang Rai province (a popular site for tourists)
The Wild Boar soccer team went to visit the cave network on June 23rd after soccer practice. Early monsoon rain (usually starting in July) forced them deeper into the cave to escape flooding. They were then forced to hunker down on a ledge 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) at the end of the cave network. Without any way of knowing if they would be found, the team and coach had to ration food and light and pray that they would make it out alive.
Once found by British divers, Thai officials began the escape plan. They laid guide rope throughout the cave and placed oxygen tanks at strategic locations. A doctor who reached the boys on the ledge was able to assess their health condition. Thai Seals evacuated the boys based on this doctors feedback. “They have been fed with easy-to-digest, high-energy food with vitamins and minerals, under the supervision of a doctor,” said a Thai official. The boys were given oxygen masks and diving suits and were taught basic diving skills. Once they were able to build up enough strength, by eating food provided by rescuers, the boys were taken out one by one through a buddy system in which there were two sets of divers. The first set helped the boys navigate an initial narrow pass. Once past this point a team of divers helped them wade through the remaining 2 miles of cave. Three separate rescue missions released 4, 4, and 5 people.
Race to save them before more storms
The rescuers were taunted by new storm clouds as they raced to save the children. Luckily the cave did not flood further. Water pumps were effective in making the water level low enough that the rescue effort involved walking in water through most of the cave.
Low oxygen levels and food
The oxygen level within the bubble the boys were trapped in dropped to as low as 15%. The boys and coach rationed their food and became malnourished while trapped in the cave.
Teams and scientists from around the world helped provide support for the rescue effort. Famed entrepreneur and futurist Elon Musk helped create backup plans for the rescuers, including designing and delivering a submarine that could help the children escape. The cave was also partially drained using a pumping system that removed an extraordinary amount of water, flooding local farmer fields.
Worry for the coach
The coach could have been easily blamed for the mishap but instead the families of the rescued children have rallied behind him, praising him as a hero. He gave the boys his own food, taught them to meditate, taught them to conserve their lights, and to keep hope alive.
Monks and meditation
With a strong Buddhist culture, many of the rescuers were former monks who were expertly trained in meditation. This training helped keep the rescue efforts more organized and positive.
Wikipedia: Thai cave rescue