Two medical professionals have volunteered to stay with the 12 boys and their football coach who have been trapped in a cave in Thailand since late last month.
A doctor and a nurse, both medics with the Thai military’s Underwater Demolition Assault Unit, have reached the boys, who have been stranded deep underground in the Thuam Luang cave complex since June 23.
The two have reportedly volunteered to stay with the boys even if new rising floodwaters leave the group unable to get out of the cave for months, according to the Evening Standard.
Emergency supplies are being brought to the soccer team and their young coach, who were immediately given food and blankets when rescue workers discovered them alive Monday.
After finding the group, emergency responders were then faced with deciding the best course of action to keeping them safe.
“We believe that there is only a short break in the monsoon and all feasible options for the rescue of the boys are being considered,” the British Cave Rescue Council, which is taking part in the rescue operation, said in a statement. “Although water levels have dropped, the diving conditions remain difficult and any attempt to dive the boys and their coach out will not be taken lightly because there are significant technical challenges and risks to consider.”
A monsoon is forecasted in the coming days that may worsen the flooding in the cave. It could take weeks or even months for floodwaters to recede enough for the group to get out without swimming.
The doctor and nurse, part of a team of seven with the boys, are also reportedly assessing which of the group may be strong enough to attempt to escape the cave by swimming out while wearing dive masks.
But the option would be a last resort.
None of the boys knew how to swim previously and would be required to at times move through narrow passageways in the deep water. The boys may also be required to go without oxygen tanks at times.
“Diving is not easy,” Thai Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda told the Standard. “For people who have never done it, it will be difficult, unlike diving in a swimming pool, because the cave’s features have small channels. If something happens midway, it could be life-threatening.”
A phone line is being installed inside the cave so the boys and coach can talk to their loved ones, CBS News reported.
Outside the cave, military personnel and ambulances are part of a staging ground waiting for whenever the group is brought out