Thai cave search for 12 teens intensifies

Clay Curtis
June 29, 2018

"I'm certain in my heart", Pean Kamlue, the mother of a 16-year-old boy in the cave, told AFP.

Bicycles, footwear and other belongings of the missing were found on Saturday at the Tham Luang cave entrance in Chiang Rai, Efe news reported.

Authorities believe the team entered the cave Saturday afternoon. He said he discovered his son's bike outside the cave.

"I have asked my son to leave the team several times, but he wouldn't", Thinnakorn said. I was desperate to find my son.

"They must know that the whole of Thailand is behind them and we hope and pray that a miracle comes true".

He was looking forward to seeing his son blow out candles on his birthday cake, but now "the cake remains at home".

Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn said that what anxious him most was continuous heavy rain that was raising the water level in the already-flooded cave.

Mr Pasakorn said helicopters had dropped food and water into a tunnel which residents of a village said gave access to the cave system, as well as handwritten notes instructing the group to wait for the rescuers, who would try to get to them there.

The rising water frustrated efforts by the rescuers, including navy SEAL divers, to search farther in the cave, which is thought to be about 6-8km long and contain some large chambers. "We're racing against time and we want them to be safe".

If the divers find the boys and coach while the water level remains high, they might need to teach them basic scuba skills to help them escape.

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Vernon Unsworth, a spelunker who lives in Chiang Rai, said the conditions in the cave are hard. "Physically it's not a hard cave; it's just very long", he told CNN from the rescue site.

A SEAL diver said the water is so murky that even with lights they can not see where they are going underwater, so they need to be able to lift their heads above the water.

'We believe the students have gone farther in, ' he said.

"We tried to pump the water (out of the chamber) but the water keeps rising". The "next six to eight hours will be crucial", he said.

Gen Anupong said all hopes were on the children still being safe as they regularly went into the cave and were fit and strong.

Royal Thai Navy divers prepare to enter the cave.

In the past, tourists have been rescued from flooded caves after the waters receded days later, officials told media outlets.

"The water is muddy; it has also still blocked the passage (into the chamber)".

Electricians worked through the night to extend a 900m power cable inside the cave to provide light and ventilation for rescue divers. Prawit Wongsuwon, the defence minister said that the authorities were also prepared to drill into the mountain if necessary. "Here are spirits who stand at the bridge between life and death - indeed, if we think of women as those figures that are able to bring life into the world, it's unsurprising that these spirits are for the most part female - dwelling in these liminal spaces". Pumping efforts to remove flooded water from the cave, meanwhile, continued around the clock, Sanook reports.

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