Divers in Thailand are working to rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave network.
A Thai military army general said at a morning press conference still under way that "time is now the most important factor" in the rescue effort. He was said to be in his 30s. "The distance is pretty long", said Narongsak. "He did not have enough on his way back".
Tham Luang operation commander Narongsak Osatanakorn said unregistered volunteers had been diverting water back into the ground in the belief they were helping.
A map of the rescue site.
THE Thai official overseeing the rescue of a young soccer team trapped in a flooded cave says the 12 boys and their coach may leave the complex cave system in stages.
Despite being trapped inside the cave for almost two weeks without any food, the teenagers could still be seen smiling in videos released by Thai Navy SEAL.
"You need a guideline because you don't want to get off of the main path and waste time or get trapped in other underwater tunnels, so we have a guideline that's going to take us straight through the tunnel", Malinowski explained. "We can not calculate how much the water flows out of the cave because there is always water flowing into the cave".
"We hope that with the help of the rescue team, the boys and their coach will be brought safely out of the cave so that they can be reunited with their families".
At this stage how and when the trapped Moo Pa (Wild Boar) team, as it is known, will be extracted from the cave complex in Chiang Rai's Mae Sai district remains a challenge.
It takes seasoned cave diving experts around six hours to reach the muddy ledge where the boys are sheltering around four kilometres into the cave. "Who is ready first can go first".
"Cave diving is incredibly unsafe for people who are very experienced doing it". But they say the experience has likely been hard mentally.
Despite reaching them, rescuers are facing yet another problem on how to extract all of them to safety considering the extremely hard route to the exit and how some of the boys don't know how to swim.
A video released by the SEALS showed two rescuers seated on an elevated part of the cave beside boys wrapped in emergency foil blankets who appeared to be in good spirits, occasionally laughing.
In a two-pronged strategy, rescuers are also hunting for a chimney down to the boys, creating a potential second option for evacuation in the event heavy rains force their hand. This way the boys wouldn't need to learn to swim or dive, and would be able to have their head above water as they exit, nearly allowing them to walk out.
The same SEAL, who is not authorized to officially speak to the media, told the outlet that oxygen is being pumped into the chamber of the cave where the team is now trapped.
The group was discovered on July 2 after 10 days totally cut off from the outside world.
Weather forecasts for the area are being closely monitored for heavy rain which could trigger further flooding.
There might, however, be an easier way out as the boys aged 11 to 16 have told rescuers they can hear barking dogs, meaning there could be an undiscovered route close to the surface. "Trying high-risk options needlessly puts rescuers at risk".
Grandmother Kham-aoey Promthep, 64, shows a photograph of her grandson, Duangpetch Promthep.
He said it was awkward, but possible, to teach them minimal skills.
"They are chit-chatting in general, talking, eating and sleeping", he said.