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Setback as Thai cave rescuers race to get 12 boys, coach out

Setback as Thai cave rescuers race to get 12 boys, coach out

Cave rescue experts have said it could be safest to simply supply the boys where they are for now, and wait for the water to go down either naturally or by pumping.

In the most recent video, a navy SEAL is shown treating minor cuts on the feet and legs of the boys with antibiotic ointment.

Heavy rains are expected to hit in a matter of days and could see water levels rise, threatening the area where the group has taken refuge.

Lit by torches and with divers sitting alongside, they each give their name and the traditional "wai" greeting, putting their palms together.

The video of that first contact was also posted on Facebook by Thai navy special forces. The navy later released two more videos of the boys. The teammates, who were trapped inside when heavy rains flooded the cave, were found by rescue divers Monday night during a desperate search that drew assistance from experts around the globe.

Malinowski adds, another challenge the team will face is having to swim against the flow of the water, which makes matters more hard, especially considering they could be weakened by being trapped in that cave without a steady dose of food and water. He said draining water outside the cave remains the core mission and the boys and their coach are in good spirits.

Food and other supplies are being put in place for that outcome.

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Seeing the boys has boosted the mood of relatives, and officials are working to install an internet cable to the cave so that parents can talk to their children. "Who is ready first can go first".

The hope, ignited by reports that the boys heard bird noises from outside, is to drill a passage to pull the team to safety, deemed preferable to a risky underwater rescue.

It is possible some of the boys can not swim, and all have been weakened by 12 nights underground.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand plans to promote the Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai as an attraction - after the locale was in the spotlight for days in the continuing coverage of the 12 boys and their 25-year-old coach stranded there, and the efforts to free them.

Divers work on a plan to rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach who remain trapped inside the Tham Luang Nang Non cave, Chiang Rai province, Thailand.Divers work on a plan to rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach who remain trapped inside the Tham Luang Nang Non cave, Chiang Rai province, Thailand. Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn said they were "racing against water".

"Thai Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda has said the boys" only chance is to swim out through the flooded underground network and that swimming lessons will start on Wednesday or Thursday. "Now we are teaching the children to swim and dive", he said.

Also per CNN, two of the boys and the coach are exhausted and malnourished.

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Authorities are evaluating their readiness each day and if there is any risk, will not proceed, he said.

Rafael, 53, who is from Israel but has lived in Thailand for more than 30 years, said he had been inside the cave 25 years ago and found that it was more hard to navigate than other caves he had tackled.

However, officials say they have stored food, medicine and equipment to last for up to four months at an underground base.

Poonsak Woongsatngiem, a rescue official with Thailand's interior ministry told the Guardian the water had been reduced by 40% in past days, clearing 1.5km stretch of dark, jagged and muddy cave channels that the boys would need to traverse.

Diving experts have cautioned against the move saying the boys who can not swim would be moving several kilometres under the water with zero visibility. He said young people are "especially social creatures, and having friends with them as well as their coach would be a tremendous help".

"Nobody will teach anyone a full cave course, but trying to get them comfortable with masks, with the breathing, [is] completely different", he said.

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