12 boys lost in flooded Thai cave

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Norwegian Cave Diver

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First - do not beat up any cave diver for the choices he/she makes unless you are an equally trained cave diver. I mean that in the nicest way, no disrespect intended to anyone who reads this. The skills, knowledge, quality of gear and mental/emotional strength combined will decide what is reasonable/risky/foolish for us. Most of the risk for the cave divers would have been finding the route to the lost boys. That would have included installing a line from open air all the way to the chamber they where they are located. Exiting for the cave divers would much simpler. We are all trained to exit a cave in zero visibility while following the line out. It is a mostly simple task. As for exiting with another diver who is out of air/gas and still in zero visibility is certainly more difficult but again something we are trained for. Now exiting with a small child who does not swim - wouldn't matter much. Don't need the young boys to swim at all. Stay focused yes. Learn how to remove and replace their reg - yes. Learn how to clear their mask - yes. They would be positioned under the right arm with most likely a long hose and regulator. The instructions would be - Close your eyes - hold on to me - I will kick - You relax and breath. Anything wrong, signal to me this way... I am not saying this doesn't have risks - but it is possible. Remember only some of the exit is in water and some of the water portion is surface swim and some is under water.
 

SailorJoe

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Had anyone heard of a real and feasible plan for this rescue? With impending rains will their sump flood? Is there another way out? Is 4 months realistic?

Looks like they are still making plans. As I see it there are three general options:

Option 1: Wait for the water levels to subside and then walk out. Survival resources are on hand so patience is the answer.

Option 2: Mount a drill on a solid surface, drill a rescue tunnel and pull them out.

Option 3: Swim them out with full face masks or some other breathing/traversal device. Very risky through the muddy pools. In my opinion this should be a last resort.

If they can mount a good rescue drill pulling them out might be the best option. Something tells me waiting too many days/weeks may lead to medical issues so they'll definitely want to consider a plan to extract them out of a rescue tunnel.

I'm surprised there isn't a rescue tunnel of sorts that can be routed through these cave pools and pumped out so the teams crawl out. These are relatively shallow pools of water. Here's a nifty design too, but it's for crossing flooded rivers.

air-rope-inflatable-rescue-tunnel-for-safely-cross-flooded-river1.jpg
 

caruso

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If the boys are taught to scuba dive and make it out ok, and then pursue a scuba diving certification in the future, would that dive count as one of the required check out dives?
 

KathyV

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What is the likely source of air flowing into the place they are stuck, are there fissures in the rocks? There must be airflows because I can't imagine 13 people lasting in an air pocket or 10 days.
 

Bob DBF

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Anyway, they said it could require months, but none of them have specified if that chamber is 100% safe from flooding or if there's the risk of being flooded with heavy constant raining (Monsons have just started and it will last for months)

Flooding anywhere is dependant on the duration and rate of rainfall, as well as other factors like a diversion of flow. I wouldn't stake my life, or anyone else's, on it being 100% safe. There is a restriction so it would only take a greater inflow than the restriction can pass for a long enough period of time.


I wonder if any of you have noticed when reading these reports, that it seems that the option favoured by the Navy is to teach the boys to dive and lead them out. As if it was the most obvious solution. But when the real cave divers are interviewed, such as from the UK or Australia or US cave divers, they think teaching them to scuba should be the absolute last resort, which we as divers understand why. Looks like the Navy doesn’t truly understand how dangerous that option really is. If you look at pics of all the Thai divers they are not in cave gear setup, but recreational gear setup. I don’t know how Thai Navy divers get trained but I’m drawing my own conclusions about their cave diving abilities/knowledge. I hope the Navy listens to the cave divers.

I believe the Navy understands how dangerous it is, and how much more dangerous it would be to wait and have to take out everyone under deteriating conditions with increasing high flow through the restriction. Thai Navy divers are most likely the same as other Navy divers, trained to solve problems as fast as practical under difficult conditions, it is not recreational diving.

And was it clear they were going to train them to dive, or train them enough for an extraction?


Bob
 

npole

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What is the likely source of air flowing into the place they are stuck, are there fissures in the rocks? There must be airflows because I can't imagine 13 people lasting in an air pocket or 10 days.

There could be a good air flow or a limited air flow that couldn't cope with the demand for long.
The guy trapped in the sunken ship had enough breathable air for almost 3 days, yes it was alone, but at 30 meters deep and the space was much smaller than a whole cavern, so 13 ppl in a big cavern, even with no air recycle could be possible (I have no idea of how big it is really).
Anyway the big issue isn't how they survived, but for how long they can survive, and unless they have solid data to prove there's enough air supply, you wouldn't trust the air supply of a natural cavern with no ventilation system: the rain and any other modification of the terrain could block that supply and at that point you'll have no backup option.
This with the possibility of the water level increasing are probably the reason of why they are making pressure to move them out with (high) risks instead of waiting with the possibility that the situation may precipitate.
 

Rhone Man

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