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Governor frets over likelihood of more rain

Jul 05. 2018
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By The Nation

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Along with the threat posed by the weather, keeping in touch with the Navy SEALs inside Tham Luang Cave is a major challenge in the mission to extract the trapped football team, Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn said on Thursday.

But all of 13 stranded footballers are in a good state of mind and in high spirits, he said.

Narongsak, who heads the rescue command centre, told the press the focus was now on draining water from the flooded cave and finding an alternative evacuation route via the hilltop above.

Fourteen days into an operation involving round-the-clock efforts, he said it was still too early to determine when the 13 members of the Moo Pa (Wild Boars) Academy football team could be brought out because their safety was the paramount concern.

“Our major concern is the weather because, despite our best efforts to drain the water, we cannot beat the rising floodwater level if there’s heavy rain,” the governor said.

“The SEALs are able to get back and forth and the stranded children are at the safe location, but a higher water level would make the rescue operation even harder.”

SEALs commander Rear Admiral Arpakorn Yukongkaew said the return trip from cave entrance to the boys and back took 11 hours because the T-junction remained submerged, and meanwhile a communications line had yet to be installed the full distance.

Narongsak said floodwater drainage was top priority, followed by finding an accessway through the mountain top over the location of the trapped footballers.

He offered assurance that the boys and their coach were being well cared for by the SEALs and were happy and mentally sound.

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