Cave search party grows after another night of rain
The search for 12 young footballers and their assistant coach trapped in a Chiang Rai cave resumed on Thursday following a night of heavy rainfall that only made conditions worse.
Police sniffer dogs joined the latest shift of 45 rescue workers and Border Patrol police looking for accessways to the cave from the mountaintop above.
Three “breathing holes” and two “manholes” found atop the cave earlier were too narrow to allow access, a source on the rescue team said. The plan is to lower a heat-detection device that would identify likely human presence, the source said.
National police deputy chief Pol General Weerachai Songmetta said Thursday’s hunt would focus on the area leading towards Doi Pha Mee, which sits above the rightward channel of the cave’s main three-way intersection.
It’s suspected there are several chambers ranging in height from 10-60 metres where the lost party is waiting for help, and that passages might rise from these chambers to the top of the mountain.
Another team would search atop the cave around Khao Nang Non to the northeast, Weerachai said.
He said the police had boosted the number of officers and sniffer dogs to 650 on Thursday.
Naval Special Warfare Command chief Apakorn Yukongkaew, who led Seals divers in the search inside the cave, said floodwaters had risen to the cave entrance, posing a major obstacle.Three diver experts flew in from Britain, who had arrived Chiang Rai on Wednesday, will join the operation on Thursday to help, he said, while grimly dismissing a rumour circulating the day before that the missing group had already been found.