Trapped boys to be rescued from Thai cave in stages depending on their health

Rescuers are aiming to get the group out as soon as possible before waters rise further

Trapped boys to be rescued from Thai cave in stages depending on their health

Thai boys are treated by a Thai Navy Seal medic, 03-07-2018. Image: Royal Thai Navy/Facebook

The 12 boys and their football coach trapped in a flooded Thailand cave are set to be rescued in stages.

The group may be brought out at different times, depending on the health of each person, a Thai official said.

"All 13 may not come out at the same time. If the condition is right and if that person is ready 100%, he can come out," said Narongsak Osatanakorn, the Chiang Rai provincial governor.

Mr Osatanakorn said the group are still recuperating and a daily evaluation is being made of their fitness.

There will be no evacuation if there is any risk, he said.

Seal commander Rear Admiral Arpakorn Yookongkaew said there was no rush to bring the group out of the cave, since they are safe where they are.

However, some officials fear that forecasted heavy rains this weekend could force them to bring the boys out earlier.

The current water level in the cave means the boys, who cannot swim, will need to dive more than 1.2 miles to get out.

Rescue experts have said this would be extremely dangerous as the route is complicated even for experienced divers.

'Practising diving'

Mr Osatanakorn confirmed that the boys have been practising wearing diving masks and breathing, but he does not believe they have attempted any dives.

Meanwhile, authorities are still exploring other options - such as scouring the mountainside for other ways into the cave and finding faster ways to pump water from it.

Another option still being considered is to provide the group with four months of supplies to enable them to wait until the water subsides.

Offering a glimmer of hope for the families of the trapped boys, Mr Osatanakorn said that a new cave, suspected to be connected to the complex the group are situated in, has been discovered.

Additionally, two main routes of water flowing into the cave have been identified and blocked.

A new video of the football team, who have been stranded in a cave for 12 days, emerged on Tuesday night.

The 12 boys and their coach, who were without food for 10 days, are seen in the footage sitting with Thai navy Seals in the dark cave with their emaciated faces illuminated by a flashlight.

The boys, some wrapped in foil blankets, introduce themselves and say they are healthy. They appear to be in good spirits, with several of the boys smiling as they interact with the navy Seals.

In an effort to ease communication issues, Thai authorities are working with navy Seals to run a fiberoptic internet line into the cave.

Once the cable is installed, it is thought phone calls to the cave will be possible.

One attempt to bring the cables in was attempted on Tuesday, but the equipment was damaged by the water.

The boys, aged between 11 and 16, and their 25-year-old coach disappeared after they went exploring in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in northern Chiang Rai province after a football game on June 23rd.

It has been suggested they were taking part in an initiation of sorts.

The team were trapped inside when heavy rains flooded the cave and were found by British rescue divers late on Monday night.