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Flemish diver involved in Thai rescue mission

The Flemish diver involved in the attempt to rescue a team of Thai child football players and their coach from a cave says that there are two main options to rescue the boys: getting them out of the caves as soon as possible or leaving them there for three months but providing medical assistance and enough food.

There was joy when the youngsters were discovered after nine days, but euphoria was tempered by the realisation that it would be no simple matter to get them out. Entry routes into the cave are flooded and it is a long and arduous route to reach youngsters. The Flemish diver Ben Reymenants was directly involved in the rescue attempt: "We first tried to drill a hole, but encountered a hard layer of granite.  It will take an awful long time to drill through this layer."

The rescue effort is a race against time: "Severe storm weather is expected in three days’ time.  The whole cave could be flooded.  Any rescue would then become impossible."

If the youngsters can't be taken out of the cave the authorities are considering leaving them there for three months under the supervision of two doctors.

"Two doctors have volunteered to stay in the cave together with the children.  They will take food and medicines with them that are sufficient for four months.  The children may have been found, but they are weak.  Half their muscles have wasted away. One aid worker stayed with them until more help can reach them.  Getting help to the youngsters is difficult.  The divers are experienced, but the children can't swim or dive. Now we're brainstorming to get them out of the cave."

The boys could be giving breathing equipment and diving gear but this is full of risks because the children could go into shock and panic or drown en route.