WATCH: See how the risky operation to rescue Thai children is being carried out
The work of professional divers to rescue the children trapped in the flooded and dark caves in Thailand, is presenting a difficult challenge, as explained by professional diving instructor Abigail Borg. She described the difficulties and risks being faced by the divers as ‘colossal’ and difficult to imagine because it involves narrow passages which are two kilometers long. The mission is more complicated because some of the children do not know how to swim and are probably being rescued by having them wear special masks.
The dramatic story unfolding in Thailand of the 12 boys and their coach has kept everyone on the edge of their seats. Millions around the world are spending hours watching the team of brave divers risking their lives to enter the dark, flooded and narrow caves in order to save the lives of these children.
Because of the water and the narrow passages, the mission is difficult and very dangerous and has already claimed the life of one Thai diver who was volunteering to help in this mission, but who instead died due to a lack of oxygen.
Visibly emotional, Ms Borg said that it was almost impossible for a diver like herself to understand and appreciate the risks of such an operation.
“The challenges are immense. It is a wonderful thing to see men whose lives are completely committed and dedicated to not only carrying out these rescue expeditions but to also put their own lives in danger where there is no emergency and you are not going to be hero, just to train so that when the moment comes, you can do it.”
The media in Thailand have reported that the children entered the cave through a nearby forest, and is considered to be a local attraction. When they were about to emerge from the cave, it started raining and they had to keep walking further and further inside the caves in order to take shelter. As a result of this, parts of the cave were flooded and the the 13 people were trapped inside.
The children’s bikes were found outside the mouth of the cave a few days later while they and their coach were trapped in the first part which had not been flooded but which is around two kilometres inside the caves.
There are four parts of the caves which are flooded, and the children will have to swim, walk, climb and dive at a depth of 30 metres in order to get out. Each of the boys is being helped by a diver in front of him who is holding his oxygen tank and another diver behind him, while ensuring that the boy keeps hold of the rope which leads to the exit. Since many of the children do not know how to dive, they have been given a full mask to wear on their face to continue breathing normally.
Abigail Borg said “this mask has one part from where you can see and the other part from where you can breathe, and when you place the mask on someone’s face, it is attached securely with the part which goes over the nose and the mouth being completely separate so that the mask does not get foggy.”
She explained that the mask which the driver in the front wears is probably equipped with a microphone so that he can communicate with the boy who at times needs to pass from a very narrow passage through which an oxygen tank can barely pass.
“It is very difficult to imagine yourself having to get through a passageway from which a person cannot pass without hitting the top or the bottom and the divers have to be able to get through there, with the oxygen tanks for themselves, the children behind them whom they cannot see, and the third person at the back. You hope and pray that when you come into the open and look back you will see that everyone is still there,” said Ms Borg.
It is being reported that before every trip of 4 – 5 hours towards the mouth of the cave, the children are being given medicine to keep them calm and prevent them from panicking, and afterwards they are being treated by a psychologist for the trauma they have been through.
WATCH: Eighth boy brought out from Thailand caves