Setback as Thai cave rescuers race to get 12 boys, coach out

Agonising rescue ahead for Thai cave boys as nation rejoices

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They have been joined by Royal Thai Navy SEALs and are also supplied with soft food, water, light, medicine, thermal blankets and diving gear.

The one-minute video shows the team together with the SEALs inside the darkened cave. The navy later released two more videos of the boys.

The team of 12 boys aged 11 to 16 and their 25-year-old coach became trapped on June 23 when monsoonal rain blocked their exit while exploring the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system in the north of the province.

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They're drilling through rocks to make room for hoses, which have already helped remove more than 31 million gallons of water.

They are being looked after by seven members of the Thai navy SEALs, including medics, who were staying with them in the cave. Now the sad update is that it might be unsafe to try to move them out according to the Navy Seals who are engaged in rescue operations.

Seeing the boys has boosted the mood of relatives, and officials are working to install an internet cable to the cave so that parents can talk to their children.

"It's like he has been given a new life", Kian Kamluang, whose 16-year-old son Pornchai is inside the cave, told the Associated Press. "Who is ready first can go first".

The Thai military has previously said that if the boys can't dive out, the group may have to wait for up to four months for flooding to recede before they can leave.

Governor Osatanakorn said 30 teams are searching for a potential airhole, adding there must be some ventilation which has been supplying the footballers with air.

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They have also been shown how to use diving equipment in case they are required to dive in order to get out of the cave.

He said it is unknown when an extraction could be attempted, but it is unlikely to be Wednesday.

"Yesterday I felt hopeful... today I heard the rain is coming", said Sunida Wongsukchan, great aunt of one of the boys Ekkarat Wongsukchan, 14, who goes by the nickname "Bew". That's obviously risky. Yookongkaew said authorities "have to be certain that it will work and have to have a drill" to make sure "it's 100 percent safe", the AP reported.

But some officials say the boys could be out in days if the weather is on their side and enough water can be pumped out of the cave network to enable the boys to get out the same way they got in, just before heavy downpours hit the region, on foot through muddy tunnels, perhaps with some swimming.

According to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com), rescuers were working on draining water out of the cave Thursday since diving is now the only way for them to escape.

Thai groundwater specialist Tsanet Natisri told ABC News his team is focused on pumping out groundwater as well as surveying the surrounding area to locate and divert any water sources flowing into the cave complex.

Heavy rain is expected to start by Saturday, which will nearly certainly raise water levels in the cave, making passage in some areas more hard if not impossible.

From the T-junction to the entrance of the cave water levels are now "manageable", said Chiang Rai Governor Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn. The idea is to get some headroom so the boys would not be reliant on scuba apparatus for a long stretch and could keep their heads above water.

One local civil servant, who had volunteered to help hand out supplies, said he did not know the boys personally but had made a decision to help because "I consider the boys in the caves as my brothers". However, that approach could take months, as Thailand's monsoon season usually lasts through October.

Bill Whitehouse, vice chairman of the British Cave Rescue Council, said: "All feasible options for the rescue of the boys are being considered". "It's confined spaces. It's nearly zero visibility".

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