Rescuers punched a hole into the side of a mountain on Thursday in a desperate attempt to drain rising water from a flooded cave in northern Thailand where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been missing for five days, reports the AP. But the effort appeared unsuccessful and the situation remained dire, with no guarantee that the water will soon recede from the cave with months left in Thailand's rainy season. Divers have been unable to navigate passages filled with muddy water, and rescuers are seeking alternative ways of entering the sprawling cave, hoping to find hidden shafts in the mountain that might offer a backdoor into the caverns. More than 600 people are combing the mountain for possible cracks. A few shafts that were found were ruled out, but Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda said rescuers are still looking at three locations.
They will explore further with the geological department using equipment such as small cameras, he said. The missing boys and coach entered the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai province after a soccer game on Saturday afternoon. The cave complex extends several miles, with narrow passageways and uneven ground and is known to flood severely in the rainy season. Thai searchers have been joined by a US military team and British cave experts, along with several other private teams of foreign "cavers." At a morning briefing, Thai SEAL divers explained to the US team that water levels had been rising overnight at a rate of about 6 inches per hour, complicating efforts to squeeze through tight passages, some of which require divers to contort their bodies around L-shaped bends. For the full story, click here.
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