Heavy rainfall stymied efforts to rescue a youth soccer team trapped in a cave in northern Thailand by flooding underground passages faster than water can be pumped out. Muddy water rising to the ceiling of one of the chambers has prevented Thai navy SEAL divers from progressing farther into the cave to where they think the 12 schoolboys and their coach, who went missing Saturday, may be sheltering. There has been no contact with the group since they entered the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai province, reports the AP. Officials were bringing in large hoses and more water pumps, but divers said water levels were rising in some places by 6 inches an hour early Wednesday. "The water that comes in with the rain is still much more than what we can pump out," said Chiang Rai Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn. "So we need to pump the water faster."
Narongsak also said teams continued to look for another way into the blocked parts of the cave. Two fissures were found Tuesday but proved to be dead ends. Rescuers were exploring another found Wednesday morning. "We still have hope. All agencies are trying their best. We have a challenge from the water level," Thai army chief Gen. Chalermchai Sitthisart said. "We are adding more pumps to lower the level down so that the SEAL team [can] operate better." He added that all agencies were working hard, "rotating 24 hours so that we can have a success in this operation." A SEAL diver said the water is so murky that even with lights they can't see where they're going underwater, so they need to be able to lift their heads above the water. Parents waited overnight in tents outside the cave as rain poured; bicycles, backpacks, and soccer cleats the boys left remained at the entrance.
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