Over 100 ‘chimneys’ drilled into mountain in bid to reach trapped Thai boys
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Over 100 ‘chimneys’ drilled into mountain in bid to reach trapped Thai boys

Rescue workers seeking new ways to reach kids if it is deemed too risky to evacuate them by diving through submerged cave

Thai soldiers carry equipment during rescue operations for 12 boys and their coach trapped in Tham Luang cave in Thailand on July 4, 2018 (AFP PHOTO / YE AUNG THU)
Thai soldiers carry equipment during rescue operations for 12 boys and their coach trapped in Tham Luang cave in Thailand on July 4, 2018 (AFP PHOTO / YE AUNG THU)

More than 100 chimneys are being drilled into the mountainside in a frantic bid to reach a Thai youth football team trapped in a cave complex below, the head of the rescue mission said Saturday.

The unprecedented rescue effort is attempting to establish new ways to extract the boys from above, if the underground chambers flood and it is deemed too risky to evacuate the team by diving out through the submerged passageways.

“Some [of the chimneys] are as deep as 400 meters… but they still cannot find their location yet,” Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters, adding the mission lacked the technology “to pinpoint where they are staying.”

“We estimate that [they] are 600 meters down, but we don’t know the [exact] target,” he said.

On the question of dipping oxygen levels in the cave, he said rescuers had managed to establish a line to pump in fresh air and had also withdrawn non-essential workers from chamber three — where the rescue base is — to preserve levels inside the cave.

The “Wild Boar” team have been trapped inside the Tham Luang cave complex for two weeks.

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