Divers have so far managed to help eight of the 13 young people trapped in a treacherous Thai cave network to safety. But the process hasn’t been easy, with extreme danger for the divers and the constant risk that heavy rain could make things even harder.
Thai officials, who have been working alongside international experts, say minimizing the risk is key. To get a sense of the vast distances divers need to cover, and a sense of the tough terrain, check out the two graphics below.
Expert divers have been essential to the operation, which was launched after the boys became trapped in the cave on June 23. Two British divers first found the boys deep inside the cave system, and a former Thai Navy SEAL diver who was bringing in extra oxygen tanks died while working on the rescue effort. The plan could change for the next rescue effort, but reports suggest that two divers were assigned to each boy — one at the front who is tethered to the boy, and one bringing up the rear.
Being trapped in a flooded cave is fortunately something most people will never live through. But for those who do, it’s a terrifying, stressful ordeal. One caver, Jason Storie, said that when he was stuck in a B.C. cave with a friend for 18 hours back in 2015, he reconciled himself to the fact that he might die while he was in there.
He and his friend Andrew Munoz both made it out, and he said he’s now thinking of the young boys and coach who are living through a much longer, much harsher ordeal. Storie said having the support of their teammates may have helped them cope, and that he hopes they’ve been able to hold on to some optimism.
“When your mind is going to the darkest places it helps to keep things light,” he said. “But it’s hard.”
Hear from Andrew Munoz and Jason Storie about what it’s like to be stuck in a flooded cave.