If 12 boys and their coach are going to get out of a flooded cave in northern Thailand before monsoon rains make their situation worse, it is going to have to happen soon, authorities say. The government says the boys are receiving crash courses in swimming and diving from rescue teams, though the 2.5-mile route to safety through dark, treacherous tunnels takes even the best divers around three hours, reports Reuters. The governor of Chiang Rai province, Narongsak Osatanakorn, says the youth soccer team has been practicing with diving masks but he's not sure if they have attempted any dives yet, the Guardian reports. He says no attempt to extract the boys will be made Wednesday, though the weather will remain ideal for a rescue later in the week.
Rainy season is only just beginning in the area, meaning the boys could be trapped for up to four months if authorities decide it is too dangerous to extract them, though the military describes four months as a worst-case scenario. In video released by Thai Navy SEALs, the boys, aged from 11 to 16, appear healthy, the BBC reports. The boys, who have been in the cave since June 23, have been provided with supplies and the military says two SEALs will remain with them at all times. To keep water levels as low as possible, teams of soldiers and other rescuers have been pumping water out and building weirs across creeks to divert water away from the cave system, the Bangkok Post reports. Teams are also trying to find cave shafts that could offer another escape route. (Read more Thailand stories.)