Questions about going into Thai cave during monsoon season

It was great news that the twelve boys from a soccer team and their coach were found alive deep inside a cave system in Thailand.

Guardian: Thailand cave rescue: where were the boys found and how can they be rescued?

When 12 missing Thai boys and their football coach were found alive deep in a cave system on Monday, joy was tempered with anxiety. The caves are flooded with surging monsoon waters, pitch black and in places too narrow to allow rescuers to pass while carrying scuba gear. None of the boys can swim or dive. The dilemma: risk a highly dangerous escape or wait possibly months for the waters to subside.

News.com.au: Next 24 hours will be crucial in Thai cave rescue drama

A CAVE explorer assisting Thai authorities trying to rescue 12 trapped schoolboys believes “we’ll know in the next 24 hours” if they will live or die.

British cave expert Vern Unsworth, who lives in Thailand, said the conditions were getting worse and there was now a narrow window in which the group could escape.

“I think we’ll know in the next 24 hours…We’ll keep our fingers crossed – everybody needs to pray and hope for a good outcome,” Mr Unsworth told the BBC.

The boys aged between 11 and 16, along with their football coach, have been trapped in the flooded Tham Luang cave system for 12 days.

But heavy monsoon rain is coming, and Mr Unsworth said rain that had already fallen had caused a dramatic rise in water levels in the cave.

Obviously the rescue is the most important thing right now.

But I have to ask why they were in the cave at all in the monsoon season, especially if it could take months for the rainy season to finish and for waters to subside.

Is the level of flooding unusual, even during the monsoon? Or is it a common risk?

Wikipedia says that the Thai monsoon runs from May to October, so flooding must have been a risk for some time.

 

 

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10 Comments

  1. Griff

     /  July 5, 2018

    As a trained rescue diver the thought of attempting to evacuate the boys is worrying.
    Some will adapt and cope with diving.
    You only need one to panic for deaths to happen.

    Reply
  2. George

     /  July 5, 2018

    I was amused at the claims of time it would take to train those boys.
    To much emotional nonsense.
    The kids are young and bright.
    Some of those I’ve taught were not yet got their BASC and managed to stay alive enjoying the sport

    Reply
    • sorethumb

       /  July 5, 2018

      It would be worth a try: practice without pressure. “Have 10 attempts and see which one you do best”.

      Reply
    • sorethumb

       /  July 5, 2018

      A lot of kids today go up trees (Adreniline forest) and learn to keep their eye on the job while way, way above the ground.

      Reply
  3. Gezza

     /  July 5, 2018

    But I have to ask why they were in the cave at all in the monsoon season, especially if it could take months for the rainy season to finish and for waters to subside.

    On Aljaz tv last night it was mentioned questions about this are already being asked, of course, & if he makes it out ok the coach will be facing prosecution.

    Reply
    • NOEL

       /  July 5, 2018

      Its easy to be wise after an event.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  July 5, 2018

        Yeah, I know, but the minute they were found alive we knew that would be on the horizon. The authorities will want to investigate whether it would have been possible to be wise before the event.

        The same thing would happen here, but at the end of it, over here, he’d come out ok. Series of findings, several recommendations, no one convicted.

        Over here you can be ultimately responsible for the death of 29 miners, or 14 kids on a viewing platform, kill a flight attendant & 3 passengers flying a Dash 8 into the ground on approach to Palmerston North airport, sink a cruise liner in Cook Strait, etc, & just eventually waltz away from it – unless you’re dead, in which case you might get the blame.

        Over in Thailand, who knows? Besides, they’ve all got to get out alive yet, & that includes the coach. He might be ok. Maybe they need to close those caves to anyone but trained cave divers?

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  July 5, 2018

          Good idea, I imagine that a few people in Thailand are saying this, too, Everyone there must have known it was the monsoon season; it comes every year. It would be like not realising that it’s winter here now.

          If the coach is charged, so should the parents for allowing their sons to go and everyone else who had anything to do with this expedition.

          Reply
  4. George

     /  July 5, 2018

    Potholing is one hell of a hobby.
    Had a go some years ago exploring siphons and was put off by the ‘squeezes’ to get there.

    Reply

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