Thai soccer team trapped in a cave have a 'limited amount of time' to be rescued as oxygen levels drop

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  • Officials are concerned about the oxygen levels in the cave where a Thai soccer team has been trapped for 13 days.
  • A Thai navy SEAL commander told reporters he believes there is “a limited amount of time” left to rescue the 12 boys and their soccer coach as oxygen levels dropped to 15%.
  • Officials are now working to supply the boys with oxygen through a 3 mile (5 kilometer) cable running through the cave’s winding chambers.
  • On Thursday, a former Navy SEAL diver assisting with the rescue mission died from a lack of oxygen.
  • The plan is to have the boys swim out of the cave with divers, although impending monsoon rains may cause flooding in the cave and could trap the boys for some time.

Officials are concerned about the oxygen levels in the cave where a Thai soccer team has been trapped for 13 days.

Governor of the Chiang Rai province, Narongsak Osotthanakor, told reporters that oxygen levels in the cave have been quickly depleted by an influx of rescue workers in the cave. Levels in the area where the boys are trapped dropped from the usual 21% to 15%, authorities said.

Thai navy SEAL commander Arpakorn Yookongkaew told reporters he believes there is “a limited amount of time” left to rescue the 12 boys and their soccer coach located deep inside the cave’s winding chambers.

“At first we thought that we could sustain the kids’ lives for a long time where they are now, but now, many things have changed. We have a limited amount of time,” he said.

Officials are now working to supply the 12 boys and their coach with oxygen through a 3 mile (5 kilometer) cable running through the cave’s winding chambers.

“The top priority today is to fill the air inside [where the boys are],” deputy army commander Chalongchai Chaiyakham told reporters. “We’ve got to finish laying the air pipe today…With the air filled, the kids could stay for months.”

The news came hours after a former Navy SEAL diver assisting with the rescue mission died from lack of oxygen. after he finished placing oxygen tanks throughout the cave network. The 38-year-old volunteer lost consciousness and received first aid before his death.

“His job was to deliver oxygen. He did not have enough on his way back,” Chiang Rai Deputy Governor Passakorn Boonyaluck told reporters.

Divers reportedly each need to carry three heavy oxygen tanks through long and winding chambers to reach the soccer team.

The plan now is to have the boys swim out of the cave with divers, although heavy monsoon rain expected this weekend may cause flooding in the cave that could trap the boys for some time.

“We are racing against the rain,” the coordinator of the rescue operation said Thursday.

Officials have said they would consider taking out the boys in stages, depending on their condition. Two of the boys and their coach have been diagnosed with malnutrition and exhaustion, further complicating rescue plans, The Guardian reported.

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