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Flooding Complicates Cave Search for Thai Soccer Team

Mae Sai, Efforts to rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach who have been missing inside a flooded cave in northern Thailand for three days hinge on pumping out water so that navy divers have room to operate.

Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda told reporters that navy SEAL divers leading the search are seriously handicapped by muddy water that has filled some chambers of the large cave to the ceilings. He said the divers can proceed only when enough water is pumped out so there is breathing space between the water and the ceiling. The divers will also soon start using special oxygen tanks that provide longer diving times, he said.

Anupong said the goal was to "reach the kids," and that rescuers would be working night and day in the dark cave, AP reported.

About a dozen navy divers and other rescuers re-entered the cave on Tuesday morning to search for the boys, aged 11-16, who have been missing since their coach took them to the Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex on Saturday after a practice match. But the search had to be suspended again because of high water.

Divers have been seeking a way forward through the chambers of the cave complex, but have been forced to suspend their search several times. The authorities are also seeking alternative ways in, using helicopters and search parties on foot to find possible holes in the ceilings of other parts of the cave.

Source: Saudi Press Agency