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“An extremely difficult task”.
This is how Exbuzo and British ex-Rescuer Geoff Crossley defined the operation to rescue the 12 children and their trainer trapped in a cave in Thailand two weeks ago.
The risky mission began on Sunday and four of the young men left the cave .
The operatives were paralyzed to analyze the situation and renew forces and compressed air bottles along the tunnel, and are expected to resume this Monday.
At least seven ambulances are waiting at the entrance to the cave , according to BBC journalists sent to the enclave.
The group is stuck at a high point about 4 kilometers from the entrance of the cave Tham Luang, but with the water rising around him, those responsible for the operation decided not p or d ed expect more .
The route contains parts in which children have to dive and others that can cross walking.
According to the government, it could take several days to get the whole group out .
It took 11 hours for professional rescuers to complete each round trip to where the group is located: six hours in the first leg and five hours in the round.
However, the first phase of the rescue, in which they managed to remove four children, took them less than expected.
The rescue plan
The rescue team consists of 5 Thai divers and 13 foreigners .
The start was organized in three groups, with four children and eight divers per group. The coach, in theory, will come last.
The rescuers are taking the teenagers step by step, one by one .
The government of Thailand specified that children will carry oxygen tanks and full masks.
Two divers accompany each child throughout the operation ng , and will be guided by a rope deployed by rescuers.
The plan “requires high level diver skills” and that children have “some diving skills, a strong mind and do not panic”.
Keeping children quiet during the rescue is essential, the British ex-Rescuer Geoff Crossley told the BBC.
The danger they face was evident when this week a diver, a former member of the elite bodies of the Thai Navy, died after taking supplies and running out of air on the way out of the cave.
The complicated journey
The first part of the exit trip, through narrow and flooded passages , is the most complicated, according to the BBC correspondent Jonathan Head, from the enclave.
It involves long periods underwater for “children who have never used diving equipment before”.
Some of them do not even know how to swim, but they have received basic diving classes and to keep calm in recent days.
At this point, “visibility is one of the worst problems in cave diving,” Crossley said in an interview with BBC Radio 5.
“If you can not see much beyond your face … that makes it very difficult, because there could be rocks that get caught in the equipment,” he explained.
Approximately halfway reach the m section ore narrow , known as a kind of intersection U in which must pass one at with oxygen tanks before and always guided by rescuers and strings stretched to along the whole journey.
After that, they go to the cave that has been the base for the operations of the divers.
There they rest, before moving on to the last stage, in which they can walk more easily towards the entrance.
Once outside is red headed and n immediately to the hospital , in the city of Chiang Rai.
The first to leave are receiving treatment and are in good condition, better than expected after spending two weeks locked in the caves, as confirmed by the BBC.
The dangers for children
In addition to the complicated journey, hypothermia is also a risk.
The water in the cave is very cold and the children will be submerged, at least partially, in the many hours it will take them to leave.
Another danger is the INFECTION ones . They can face all kinds of diseases, which could be transported by bats or by dirty water.
Copyright of the REUTERS image
Because right now?
Initially, the possibility that the group could stay in the cave until the end of the rainy season, that is, around four months, had been considered.
The idea of drilling the cave had also been explored.
But in the middle of the rainy season, it is clear that the floods that originally trapped the children will only worsen in the coming days.
The rescue teams have been desperately drawing water from the cave, working literally 24 hours.
In recent days, they managed to drain some 128 million liters and the head of the rescue operation, Narongsak Osottanakorn, said on Sunday that the water levels in the interior were at their lowest levels in recent days.
“There is no other day when we are more prepared than today,” Narongsak said.
Medical staff, relatives, rescue teams and journalists are just some of the people who have established a base in the vicinity of the cave in recent days.
There is also an army of volunteers who came to help in any way they can: either cooking for those who are in the place, or cleaning the uniforms of the rescue workers.