Water and Mud Block Rescue of 12 Boys in Cave

A search party Sunday in a cave in Chiang Rai province.
A search party Sunday in a cave in Chiang Rai province.

CHIANG RAI — Rescuers are planning a second attempt Monday to try to get through a small, flooded passage inside a cave to search for 12 boys and their soccer coach who entered the cave two days ago.

On their first attempt at dawn, divers were unable to reach the large chamber deep inside the cave where the students might be, said Kamolchai Kotcha, an official in the forest park where the cave is in northern Thailand’s Chiang Rai province.

The passage to the chamber is extremely small, “flooded and covered with sand and mud,” Kamolchai said.

The large chamber is about 4 kilometers from the entrance of the cave that’s thought is be about 6 to 8 kilometers long.

The 12 boys are aged 11-15 and are believed to have entered the Tham Luang Nang Non cave with their coach late Saturday afternoon. A mother who reported her son never returned from soccer practice that day set off the search.

The cave can flood severely during Thailand’s rainy season, which runs from June to October.

According to Kamolchai, tourists trapped in the cave by past floods have been rescued after the water receded a few days later.