On June 23, a 12-boy Thai soccer team and their coach became stranded deep underground in a Thailand cave system. The team, called the Wild Boars, is comprised of boys aged 11 to 16 years old.
Following a days-long search to find the missing children, divers finally discovered the group alive but malnourished several miles from the cave opening, stranded where they were by flooded passages.
Honestly the most stressful thing in my life is watching the story of the Thai soccer boys unravel. Praying for the… https://t.co/Y9MjybuCrD— Elijah Drake (@Elijah Drake) 1530931854.0
But the problem is far from over. The question of how to move the young boys out of the cave has been an incredibly difficult one.
Many have never swum, let alone dove over 500 feet through dark underwater tunnels.
Even if they knew how to dive, the group is weakened by their extended time underground. They might lack the physical ability to make the difficult journey.
But one rescue diver has a unique idea to solve these problems: drug the children.
Jani Santala, a diver from Finland helping with the rescue efforts in Thailand, said drugging the members of the soccer team would allow them to relax and be carried out of the cave.
Santala believes it might also minimize the risk that the children, who lack diving experience, might panic.
Were they to panic mid dive, it would jeopardize their own lives and those around them.
Santala commented to BBC Radio 4's Today program:
The easiest way would be if the child would be almost unconscious, not fighting against the panic or anything, just strapped with a full face mask and being like a parcel that the professional divers are handling ...
That must be terrifying, but with the proper medication that can be done. Still, the doctors might have a solution for that. But from a rescue diver's point of view, that would be the easiest way.
The team is trapped within the Tham Luang cave network, which is partially filled with water. It's also completely dark in many places.
CBS News: Cave rescue expert: Diving Thai soccer team out "incredibly dangerous". https://t.co/kzTZYzZPDL via @GoogleNews— Jim (@Jim) 1530727381.0
Though the children and their coach have begun learning how to swim, time has become a concern. Monsoon level rains are expected in the area this weekend which could raise the water level to dangerous levels.
@BostonGlobe My thoughts are with you.— Michèle Haudebourg (@Michèle Haudebourg) 1530896948.0
Also, the group is quickly running out of oxygen.
The rescue effort claimed the life of Saman Kunan, a former Thai SEAL. He lost consciousness and died due to lack of oxygen on Friday, July 6, while attempting to deliver supplies to the stranded children.
A former Thai navy diver helping to rescue the boys trapped in a cave has died while taking in supplies - officials https://t.co/7JlUsZbl14— BBC Breaking News (@BBC Breaking News) 1530845048.0
Diving experts from around the world are involved in the rescue effort.
Australia is sending a medical specialist with cave-diving expertise to join the Aussie team of 17 from… https://t.co/ow4opbygUj— Julie Bishop (@Julie Bishop) 1530936301.0
As the situation becomes more desperate, the Thai government will be considering every option available to them... even drugging the young men involved.
The rescue of the youth Thai football team trapped in a flooded cave is still ongoing. The rescue is so challenging… https://t.co/hfrNdpAsOL— China Plus News (@China Plus News) 1530868289.0
Hopefully they can all be returned safely to their families soon.