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Three focal points in a race against time

The search for 12 youths and their assistant football coach trapped in a Chiang Rai cave is focused on three main operations.


* The search inside the cave: Royal Thai Navy SEALs and veteran foreign divers are hoping to reach a dry section known as “Pattaya Beach” deep inside the cave, where the lost group might be waiting. But this aim has been hampered by heavy rainfall that’s inundated the cave entrance.

Water is continuously being pumped out and well diggers are sinking shafts to try and speed the drainage, but the water level remains high as rainwater keeps flowing in.

* Drilling through the cave walls and ceiling: As officials look for access points in the Doi Pa Mee area to the right of the cave entrance, a crack was noticed in the ceiling in the now-flooded area where the youths left their shoes. It’s possible that drilling could widen this fissure and allow deeper access.

Another team is scouring the mountaintop above the cave in the direction of Pattaya Beach for accessways and places where water is entering and can be diverted.

* Further inspection of four holes in the Doi Pa Mee area. It’s hoped these will lead into the deeper cave chambers.

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