07/03/2018, 09.54
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Children lost in caves found alive: But it could take months to free them (Video)

The discovery at the end of a miraculous rescue operation lasting nine days. Tham Luang caves are regularly flooded during the rainy season, which lasts until September or October. Experts caution that the passage of inexperienced divers through muddy waters with zero visibility would be a very risky operation.

Chiang Rai (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The twelve boys and their coach trapped in the Tham Luang caves have been found alive and will receive food for four months and will be trained in diving, before being returned to their families. This is what the Thai army says, while the attention of the rescuers has moved on to the difficult task of evacuating the group from the complex underground system, while waiting for the waters that have flooded it to retreat.

Last night, the governor of Chiang Rai Province announced that rescuers had found the football team (photo), at the end a miraculous rescue operation lasting nine days. More than 1,000 people have been involved, including teams from China, Myanmar, Laos and Australia. Rescuers include Thai marine divers, three British experts and US military personnel.

The enormous effort of the rescuers was hindered for days by heavy rains that flooded the caves, blocking access to where they hoped to find the group alive. They took advantage of a short window of good weather to advance underground, while the water level fell slowly and steadily, thanks to the continuous work of hydraulic pumps. Rescue teams hoped to find the boys on a raised overhang called "Pattaya Beach". However, the young people had moved away about 350 meters, as it was now submerged.

Two British divers located the boys. The video of the first contact portrays the boys sitting on a ledge above the water, while they respond to rescuers complaining of hunger; they ask how long they've been underground and if they can leave. The divers tell them they have to wait, but they reassure the soccer team that other people will come back. A boy answers: "Oh, see you tomorrow".

During the rainy season, which lasts until September or October, the Tham Luang caves are regularly flooded. If rescuers want to take the children out before then, they will have to learn some basic diving skills. However, experts warn that passing inexperienced divers through dangerous zero-visibility muddy corridors would be a very risky operation.

Should the authorities decide to wait, the 13 survivors would remain in the caves for months and continued supplies of food and assistance would be needed. In the coming days, they will be reached by some doctors who will perform checks to establish their conditions and treat any injuries.

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