Rising waters, no air: How Thai cave rescue nearly went wrong

Rising waters, no air: How Thai cave rescue nearly went wrong

Mr Volanthen also paid tribute to Thai navy diver Saman Kunan, who died while replenishing oxygen canisters, saying his death was an "absolute tragedy" and brought a "bittersweet" taste to an otherwise "excellent" operation.

John Volanthen returned to his home country after helping rescue the 12 boys. They forged deeper into the cave and found a dry, elevated slope where they remained stranded in total darkness for 10 days before rescuers located them.

Initially isolated in hospital in Chiang Rai because of fears of infection, the boys have now been allowed to meet their families. They wave to the camera, give the peace sign and press their hands together in prayer to show gratitude.

The 12 Wild Boars players and their coach had entered the cave to go exploring June 23 but monsoon rains filled the tight passageways, blocking their escape. The aim, Anderson said, was to make each of the boys "tightly packaged" so divers could keep control of them and adjust their air supply as needed.

"Don't need to worry about their physical health and even more so for their mental health", said Chaiwetch Thanapaisal, director of Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital.

The Philippines on Friday joined the worldwide community in rejoicing with Thailand after the daring rescue of 12 members of a boys soccer team and their coach in a flooded cave complex in the northern part of the country.

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"And be careful in the future", Jason Mallison, a diver for the British Cave Rescue Council, said when asked by reporters in Thailand if there was anything he wanted to tell the rescued members of the Wild Boar soccer team.

"He is brilliant with children, and he would have made sure that they were prepared in the best possible way from a cave-diving perspective", she said. "To see all that heroic bravery in the cave, and to get all the divers out, it's just such a touching event and so personal to me". Their discovery immediately prompted discussions on how to get them out, with initial reports suggesting that the safest way to rescue the team was to wait out the rainy season, which lasts until October, and guide them out once the flooded tunnels had dried.

"We just helped them with the stretchers and got them through the rocks and passed them to the next team", Schnauer told Newshub. With the help of 16 other divers, they ferried the boys and their coach to safety through intense stretches of water.

The Thai Navy SEALs posted a video on Facebook showing the group when they were first found. "They talked to the boys far away from them, about 2 meters [6.5 feet]", Thongchai said. And only a day later, a second movie was announced - but this one promising to circumvent that dreaded Hollywood tendency: whitewashing.

The Canadian, speaking to Reuters a day after the rescue ended, said he had no plans to dive again anytime soon.

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