Cave search suspended as flood water rises after more rain

Cave search suspended as flood water rises after more rain

Rescuers climb a mountain above Tham Luang cave in Mae Sai district, Chiang Rai, trying to other openings into the cave to search for 12 boys and their football coach missing there Wednesday. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)
Rescuers climb a mountain above Tham Luang cave in Mae Sai district, Chiang Rai, trying to other openings into the cave to search for 12 boys and their football coach missing there Wednesday. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)

CHIANG RAI: Persistent rain overnight raised water levels inside Tham Luang cave in Mae Sai district and rescuers were forced to pause their search for 12 boys and their football coach.

Authorities said the 10-kilometre-long cave in the Tham Luang Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park had four chambers and floodwater almost reached the main entrance of the cave early Thursday morning.

Consequently, rescuers had to remove their equipment from the cave and wait for the flood level to subside. Local weathermen expected the rain would stop late Thursday morning.

Outside the cave, 132 police officers were deployed with sniffer dogs trying to find other openings into the cave.

Park officials have closed the forest park to tourists.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said 30 US specialists had arrived at the cave from Hawaii and were considering boring into the cave to hopefully save the missing people.

The boys, aged 11-16, are members of a local football team nicknamed the “Wild Boars”. They and their 26-year-old coach entered the cave after football practice on Saturday. A mother of one of the players raised the alarm when her son did not return home.

Bicycles, shoes and backpacks belonging to the footballers were found near the cave entrance.


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