Rescuers rest outside the cave in the Tham Luang Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in Mae Sai district, Chiang Rai, on Monday during a search of 12 boys and their football coach trapped inside. (Photo by Channaphat Chaimol)
Rising water levels on Monday afternoon have complicated the search of 12 young footballers and their coach who have gone missing for three days as divers are trying to move further.
"It's showering. The water level inside the cave is going up," the Royal Thai Navy SEAL posted a message on its Facebook page at 4pm on Monday. Handprints were found on the cave's walls, it added.
The signs raised the hope that the divers were on the right track to finding the 13 persons going inside the cave in the Tham Luang Khun Nam Nang Noon Forest Park in Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai on Saturday afternoon.
All are members of the Moo Paa Academy football club led by coach Ekkaphol Chantharawong.
Deputy Chiang Rai governor Passakorn Boonluck said the rising water inside the cave was the problem.
Authorities sought help from the SEAL team after they could not go deep inside the cave. The elite unit of the Royal Thai Navy from their base in Sattahip district, Chon Buri, began their operation on Monday morning.
The SEAL divers went as far as seven kilometres inside the flooded cave. They went down 5m deep to reach a large chamber.
They had to temporarily suspend the search later in the evening
Capt Anant Surawan, chief of the Underwater Demolition Assault Unit, said the darkness and water level were posing risks for the operation. All were ordered to return to map out the next moves, he added.
The Border Patrol Police have sent helicopters to the area to look for other entrances to the cave.
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cave : a large hole in the side of a hill or under the ground - ถ้ำ
chamber : a space in something (in a body, in a plant, a machine, etc, which is separated from the rest - ช่อง
diver : a person who works underwater, usually with special equipment - นักดำน้ำ
elite : of a highly trained group - ซึ่งดีที่สุด, ยอดเยี่ยมที่สุด
hope (noun): a belief that something you want will happen; something that you wish for - ความหวัง
pose a risk : to be a possible danger - กระทำการซึ่งอาจก่อให้เกิดอันตรายต่อ
SEAL : Sea, Air and Land, referring to a type of military unit and strategy begun by the US Navy -
shower : a short rain - พายุฝนฟ้าคะนองที่ตกปรอย ๆ สั้น ๆ
suspend : to stop for a period of time - ยกเลิกชั่วคราว, ระงับชั่วคราว