Thai navy SEALs consider diving as possible rescue plan for soccer team

Posted: Updated:
THAILAND -

As rescuers work to try to figure out how to get members of a youth soccer team out of a flooded cave in Thailand, authorities say Thai navy SEAL divers have been teaching the boys how to scuba dive as part of a possible rescue plan.

Rescuers located the 12 boys and their soccer coach deep inside a partially flooded cave in northern Thailand Monday, 10 days after they went missing. Teams have since been working around the clock to devise a plan as to how to safely get the kids out of the flooded cave.

While efforts to pump out floodwaters are continuing, some Thai officials have indicated that heavy rains forecast for this weekend could force them to decide the boys should swim and dive out using the same complicated route of narrow passageways through which their rescuers entered.

Saam Greenman, owner of Captain Saam's Scuba School, says that navigating tight caves and strong currents underwater can be a challenge, especially for inexperienced divers.

Greenman says that cave diving can be especially dangerous due to narrow passageways and an inability to ascend directly to the surface.

He says, however, that he thinks diving the children out may be feasible with modern equipment and supervision from the SEALs and guide ropes.

“The biggest challenge is getting them to eat up and get healthy again,” says Greenman. “And get their strength back for the ordeal that they're going to go through."

Authorities have looked into other options for recovering the team from that cave, such as finding an entrance through the ground or waiting for the waters to recede. But everyone seems to agree that with possibly more rain on the way, the sooner they can get the team out, the better.

AP wires contributed to this report.

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