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#289731 - 07/03/18 01:16 PM Thai Cave Rescue
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7705
Loc: southern Cal
I have been following developments in this situation, as i am sure many of us have. There are rescues, there are challenging and difficult rescues, and then there are cave rescues, even the most routine of which are at a significantly more challenging level. Remember Floyd Collins??

The Thai situation dwarfs any kind of technical or cave rescue operation I have ever experienced or heard of, for that matter. The latest report is that one of the options is to teach the group scuba diving in order to get them out.

Well, there is scuba diving, and then there is cave diving, where you are dealing with restricted overhead conditions - no popping to the surface and breathing...

Years ago, I took an intro course in cave diving - two instructors and five students. Since then I know that at least two of the seven have perished while cave diving (one was an instructor), and this does not include the guy I felt was the most likely candidate - a gentleman who was bragging about the time he had spent in a decompression chamber...

It looks like they might spend four months in the cave, until the end of the rainy season, which alone poses significant complications.

Apparently the group passed warning signs notifying them of flooding dangers during the rainy season. Please do pay attention to warning signs and get a decent weather report when out and about. It is well worthwhile....

At least lessons will be learned from this incident which will be useful in future situations. It is gratifying to see the international response to this situation.
Geezer in Chief

#289743 - 07/03/18 06:12 PM Re: Thai Cave Rescue [Re: hikermor]
haertig Offline

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 2321
Loc: Colorado
I am not a diver. My impression of the dangers of cave diving are: (1) Low visibility, (2) Confined spaces, (3) Navigation (getting lost). Are there other concerns that would make cave diving more dangerous than other diving?

I can imagine a SEAL in front of a rescuee, a SEAL in back, and everyone tied together with short ropes. And the entire group following a separate rope for navigation.

Other than the panic induced by having your first dive be in a confined space with no visibility, I would think the more experienced SEALS (or specialty cave divers) would be able to get you out. Just don't panic. You would be dead in a second if you panicked.

Are there other concerns?

#289746 - 07/03/18 08:20 PM Re: Thai Cave Rescue [Re: hikermor]
gonewiththewind Offline

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1517
Altitude and depth

#289747 - 07/03/18 08:24 PM Re: Thai Cave Rescue [Re: hikermor]
bacpacjac Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 3601
Loc: Ontario, Canada
WOW! I'm just reading about this now and came here, of course.

haertig, I just read this:

"Finding the boys took more than nine days, partly because of how difficult it is to move around the cave. The cave floods during Thailandís rainy season and even elite Thai navy SEAL divers were finding it difficult to move through the muddy waters, currents and tight passageways." (source: https://globalnews.ca/news/4309063/thai-soccer-team-boys-rescue-cave-safely/)
Mom & Adventurer

You can find me on YouTube here:

#289748 - 07/03/18 09:55 PM Re: Thai Cave Rescue [Re: hikermor]
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 2197
Loc: NE Wisconsin
I got certified for SCUBA diving as a young man maybe 30 years ago, and never continued it for misc. reasons, but ...

They are reporting that many of the boys simply cannot swim. That alone is a concern. Fins might help a tiny bit, but not sure they are practical for the tight spaces of cave diving.

I would imagine that panic is the biggest risk factor in trying to swim out. Boys who are unfamiliar with the very cramped environment that are wearing a mask and using SCUBA are very likely to panic. In their panic they might pull the mouthpiece away while still underwater, and in those tight spots there can't be anyone there to help them.

#289749 - 07/03/18 10:12 PM Re: Thai Cave Rescue [Re: haertig]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7705
Loc: southern Cal
Apparently the folks on scene regard diving the group out as the most dangerous option. the safest option apparently is to lower water levels, either by pumping or the end of the rainy season, so that they can walk and/or float out..

Everything depends upon the local conditions - are there narrow bits where only one can squeeze through, perhaps towing your tank behind or below you? how swift is the current? How contorted are the passages/ - they are not necessarily nice straight tunnels.

One key element is buoyancy control - keeping one's self neutral in the water, neither rising nor falling. Bumping into the passage can release cloudy sediments and damage gear. This is something that is often quite difficult for divers to learn in swimming pool conditions with no hazards and is trickiest at relatively shallow depths. Altitude is also a complicating factor.

Diving in restricted overhead situations (typically cave or wreck diving) means that your life expectancy can be easily calculated. There is a finite amount of air in your tank and when you exhaust that, you are done. Panic and inexperience result in greater air consumption, while youth and small size decrease it.

Situations arise in cave diving (equipment problems, lose your mask or regulator, etc) where you are essentially on your own, even with a dive buddy, and it doesn't matter who is behind or ahead of you - you are on your own.

Since this is a marooned soccer team, they are probably interested in the World Cup matches, even while they are they are at the center of World Cup class rescue efforts.
Geezer in Chief

#289750 - 07/03/18 11:11 PM Re: Thai Cave Rescue [Re: hikermor]
Russ Offline

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5341
Thailand cave rescue update: Boys soccer...sing for 9 days
From the article it appears the rescuers are taking a methodical approach; a rope line has been laid out and they are preparing for a long term solution. I had some great ideas wink but Iím not a spelunker nor a diver, and certainly not both at the same time, so why would I even want to start kibitzing with people on scene. There is apparently a lot of talent actively involved who have much better ideas as to what is needed and possible than one can glean from a CBS news article. I wish them the best of luck.

Edit: Second link with a graphic/map of the cave. Thailand cave rescue: How to get Thai soccer team and coach out of Tham Luang Nang Non
...The British Cave Rescue Council, which has members taking part in the operation, estimates the boys are around 1.2 miles into the cave and somewhere around half a mile below the surface. Other estimates put the boys as far as 2.5 miles into the cave. ...

Edited by Russ (07/03/18 11:50 PM)
Edit Reason: Added link & quote

#289759 - 07/04/18 11:31 PM Re: Thai Cave Rescue [Re: hikermor]
TeacherRO Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2574
The main lesson here is "Don't go places that are very dangerous without the proper training, guides and equipment."

no amount of edc would have helped them; only good judgement

#289764 - 07/05/18 09:31 AM Re: Thai Cave Rescue [Re: hikermor]
ireckon Offline

Registered: 04/01/10
Posts: 1629
Loc: Northern California
I am wondering how they got the high quality lights and cameras down there, and how they get the video out. Then again, good cameras can be tiny these days, and the lights are already part of the equation. I answered my own question.

Related issue, it is so important to teach kids how to swim and be comfortable in water.
If you're reading this, it's too late.

#289771 - 07/06/18 03:43 AM Re: Thai Cave Rescue [Re: hikermor]
clearwater Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1174
Loc: Channeled Scablands
LA times is reporting one of the Volunteer SEALs has died.

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