The rescue for the 12 soccer players and their coach is still underway. Rescuers have yet to be able to get the kids and the coach out due to rising waters in the cave. On Friday tragedy struck when one of the volunteer rescuers, a former Thai navy SEAL fell unconscious underwater and died around 1 am. Saman Kunan, 38, was attempting to return from placing air tanks deep inside the underground complex. Another rescue diver tried to revive Kunan but was unsuccessful.
Commander of the SEAL unit told reporters, “The conditions in the cave are tough. Once he placed the oxygen tanks he became unconscious on his way back. His buddy tried to administer first aid when there was no response he tried to move him. We won’t let his life be in vain. We will carry on.”
Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn said on Thursday that rescuers were preparing a five km (three miles) “oxygen pipeline” as part of preparations for the group’s extraction but added that the boys would not be coming out soon.
As Rescuers and volunteers figure out the best way to get the soccer team and their coach out, many people are wondering how they are going to teach 10, 11, and 12 years old how to dive when some of them can’t even swim. Rescuers are scrambling to hurry before heavy rains hit the country’s north next week which could further hamper the situation. Another option the rescuers and volunteers are thinking about is leaving the boys and the coach in the cave for months until the wet season ends and the flood waters recede or drilling a shaft into the cave from the forest above. All of these alternative options will take time and not to mention tremendous risk.
Narongsak said, “Regarding the plan for the 13 to swim or dive, there is only one critical point which it is risky: It is where every boy has to dive alone. The point is very narrow … It is very deep water. The distance is pretty long.” Heavy monsoon rains are forecast for next week in most of the north, according to Thailand’s meteorological department.