After more than two weeks trapped in a dark cave, eight boys and their soccer coach are waiting their turn for the risky escape. Four boys have already made it safely out of the cave.
“This is the most scary situation that a person could go through, said Anmar Mirza. “You can’t make a horror movie that would even compare… I’ve been involved in cave rescue for 30 years and I cannot even think of one that is this complicated.”
Mirza is the national coordinator of the National Cave Rescue Mission. He says the complexity of the extraction is off the charts.
The path out is a dangerous one. Thirteen foreign and five Thai divers have to navigate dark and tight passageways filled with murky water and strong currents.
Two divers will accompany one child as they stick to a cave line that stretches the entire mile and a half distance. Divers have taught the boys to breathe through scuba equipment for the areas they must swim underwater for extended periods.
“The trust factor between the children and diver makes it — it’s probably 90 percent of what gets them out of the cave,” Mirza said.
An international team has taken shifts bringing them food, medical supplies and comforting letters from their parents. Their soccer coach even taught them to meditate to stay calm.
“The good news is that the first phase was successful, so they had an opportunity to show it works,” Mirza said. “It’s still dangerous but it’s much better odds for the remaining kids to come out now because of those initial ones.”
After pumping out water for days, experts say the window to rescue the boys is closing and it is now or never. It’s possible that everyone could be rescued within 48 hours.