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Chiang Rai: Day Eight – full speed ahead to the middle of the caves

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Chiang Rai: Day Eight – full speed ahead to the middle of the caves | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Practice drills to maximise the evacuation speeds when the missing team is found/The Naiton

Day Eight: Saturday’s search milestones were the most significant to date with the rains easing, the floodwaters being removed and inroads into many sections of the cave from all sides of the mountain.

Support teams outside the Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai were yesterday waiting eagerly for a signal from the team searching for 12 teen footballers and their assistant coach who have been trapped inside the flooded cave since last Saturday, June 23.

Narongsak Osoththanakorn, governor of the northern province, says that the search team was highly hopeful yesterday after all the positive developments in the large-scale rescue operation. The positive developments yesterday included success in being able to pump a large amount of water out of the cave, enabling the team of Navy SEAL (Sea, Air and Land Teams) divers to move closer to the so-called “Pattaya Beach” section where the missing are believed to be waiting for rescue, the governor said.

Work continued on a number of fronts, all night, and is expected to continue all day today.

Chiang Rai: Day Eight - full speed ahead to the middle of the caves | News by The Thaiger

He said other units were in full readiness to bring the missing footballers out of the cave. They are just waiting for a signal from the search team.The SEAL divers had nearly reached a T-junction in the depths of the cave just two or three kilometres from where the boys are believed to be, the governor said.

Water levels inside the complex labyrinth of tunnels finally dropped thanks to dozens of pumps set up to drain the pools, even as heavy rain continued to pound the area near the Myanmar and Laos borders.

“The situation is better today than yesterday and the day before. The water level has receded considerably and we are pumping out water in all the chambers,” he told reporters.

Medical teams staged drills yesterday morning to prepare for possible rescue, amid worries about how the boys might be pulled out of the cave if and when they are found. Ambulances and helicopters were on standby for the drills at the bustling rescue site. The Chiang Rai governor said the evacuation drill found several obstacles that needed to be tackled when the actual evacuation takes place. He said one issue was the lack of cooperation of people who would not move their vehicles for the road to be cleared. He said the order of ambulances and the evacuation of the rescued persons in various steps also needed to be improved. Video footage of all the steps were taken to work on how the process could be improved.

Chiang Rai: Day Eight - full speed ahead to the middle of the caves | News by The Thaiger

The Governor is urging onlookers to refrain from Facebook Live coverage of the scene, as they could obstruct the work of the authorities. He added that there are now more than 10 diving robots and diving drones at the site but they could not be operated because the cave is dark and the water too murky for the controllers to see anything. He’s also asking officials from various teams to refrain from talking to the media about the operations of other teams. He said if any official has any recommendation, he or she should talk to other teams directly or else the comments could be seen as criticism of other teams.

In the afternoon, the water level in the cave subsided a lot and 16 Navy SEAL divers surveyed Chamber 3. At 1pm, the divers were in the process of extending a rope and a phone line to the three-way intersection that straddles Pattaya Beach and the right passage of the cave.

The Navy’s SEALs plan to set up a forward command at the cave’s T-junction before sending divers to Pattaya Beach. Divers from the Navy SEALs reached the third chamber from Tham Luang cave’s entrance before noon yesterday after rains stopped and water was drained from the cave up to a level.

The Thai Navy SEAL Facebook page reported the progress of the operation, in which divers and Army troops helped move water pumps into the cave to drain water in the morning. The water drained very quickly, the page reported. When the water was drained up to a level, the SEAL divers managed to enter the third chamber. They carried oxygen tanks with them to set up the forward command. Rains over the cave have stopped since 4am and officials stepped up efforts to drain water from the cave’s entrance.

Five helicopters airlifted a team of Border Patrol policemen yesterday morning to resume search of a shaft over the cave. The team planned to climb down the 60 metre deep shaft from Pha Mee Mountain to try to reach three chambers on the side of the cave where the missing youngsters may have been trapped, deputy police commissioner-general Pol General Veerachai Songmetta said.

On Friday, the police had reached the bottom of the shaft but had not entered an opening believed to be connected to the chambers, said Veerachai, who heads the team. The Border Patrol policemen are now equipped with wireless communication tools that would feed their pictures back live to the top of the mountain, where Veerachai was based, for analysis.

Meanwhile, a senior rescue official complained about the wastage of time caused by the lack of adequate coordination between several teams exploring shafts over the Tham Lung cave. Lerpong Suansang, head of a search team of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department, said there were several teams searching for shafts that could offer a passage to chambers in the cave where it is believed the 13 member football team could have been trapped. He said several shafts had been searched and that they only led to a dead-end. Due to lack of coordination, other teams also ended up searching the same shafts, assuming them to be new discoveries.

Chiang Rai: Day Eight - full speed ahead to the middle of the caves | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation

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Chiang Rai

Journey back to Tham Luang in ‘The Cave’ – VIDEO

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Journey back to Tham Luang in ‘The Cave’ – VIDEO | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Tom Waller on site during the filming of The Cave – AFP

Determined divers racing against time. Rising waters threatening lives. 12 teenagers and their soccer coach trapped inside for two weeks. A remote cave that most had never heard of.

The stuff of a Hollywood drama, except that it’s all true and happened in Chiang Rai last year. Now the first of several re-tellings of the story comes to the big screen in The Cave.

The ordeal in late June and early July last year had barely ended when filmmakers began their own race to get the nail-biting drama onto cinema screens. The first of those projects premiered at the start of October, when director Tom Waller’s The Cave showed at the Busan Film Festival in South Korea.

The film was shot over three months earlier this year and has been in post-production since then. The 45 year old Thai-British filmmaker says the epic tale of the Wild Boars (Mu Pa) football team was a story he simply had to tell.

“I took the view that this was going to be a story about the people we didn’t know about, about the cave divers who came all the way from across the planet.”

The 13 young men entered the Tham Luang cave complex after soccer practice and were quickly trapped inside by rising floodwater. The boys were forced to spend nine nights lost in the cave, whilst Navy Seal and other diver searched frantically, before they were spotted by a British diver.

It would take another eight days before they were all safe, against all odds, in a risky mission.

Waller was visiting his father in Ireland when he saw television news accounts of the drama.

“I thought this would be an amazing story to tell on screen.”

But putting the parts together after their dramatic rescue proved to be a challenge. Thailand’s government, led by the military NCPO, became very protective of the story, barring unauthorised access to the Mu Pa team or their parents. Waller often feared his production might be shut down.

His good fortune was that the events at the Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai province had multiple angles and interesting characters. Especially compelling were the stories of the rescuers, particularly the expert divers who rallied from around the world. He decided to make a film “about the volunteer spirit of the rescue.”

Other people proposed telling the story from the point of view of the boys, and Netflix nailed down those rights in a deal brokered by the Thai government.

“I took the view that this was going to be a story about the people we didn’t know about, about the cave divers who came all the way from across the planet. They literally dropped everything to go and help, and I just felt that that was more of an exciting story to tell, to find out how these boys were brought out and what they did to get them out.”

Waller even had more than a dozen key rescue personnel play themselves.

Waller said they were natural actors, blending in almost seamlessly with the professionals around them, and helped by the accuracy of the settings and the production’s close attention to detail.

“What you are really doing is asking them to remember what they did and to show us what they were doing and what they were feeling like at the time. That was really very emotional for some of them because it was absolutely real.”

Waller says his film is likely to have a visceral effect on some viewers, evoking a measure of claustrophobia.

“It’s a sort of immersive experience with the sound of the environment, you know, the fact that is very dark and murky, that the water is not clear.”

“In Hollywood films, when they do underwater scenes, everything is crystal clear. But in this film it’s murky and I think that’s the big difference. This film lends itself to being more of a realistic portrayal of what happened.”

Some scenes were filmed on location at the entrance to the actual Tham Luang cave, but most of the action was shot elsewhere.

“We filmed in real water caves that were flooded, all year-round. It is very authentic in terms of real caves, real flooded tunnels, real divers and real creepy-crawlies in there. So it was no mean feat trying to get a crew to go and film in these caves.”

The Cave goes on general release in Thailand on November 28.

ORIGINAL ARTICE: Associated Press | Time.com

Journey back to Tham Luang in 'The Cave' - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Tom Waller – Associated Press/Sakchai Lalit

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Air Pollution

Less monitoring, more enforcement – Prawit warns northern officials

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Less monitoring, more enforcement – Prawit warns northern officials | The Thaiger

PHOTO: The Thaiger

Thai Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan and Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa were in Chiang Mai yesterday to give provincial governors and state agency officials a ‘heads up’ in preparation for another looming season of forest fires and haze.

The North suffers perennial choking smog from approximately February to April, and Prawit passed on a message from PM Prayut Chan-o-cha who, he said, was fretting over the impact on people’s health.

He said the Environment Ministry would take the lead in coordinating with neighbouring countries and related local authorities to monitor the fire problem both in and outside Thailand.

The fires are lit in northern Thailand, and over the border in Myanmar, as burn-offs to prepare for the next year’s crops. Last year’s choking smoke haze was headline news for months.

SOURCE: The Nation

Less monitoring, more enforcement - Prawit warns northern officials | News by The Thaiger

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Chiang Rai

Thai police officer arrested with nearly 200,000 meth pills in his luggage

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Thai police officer arrested with nearly 200,000 meth pills in his luggage | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Thai PBS World

A serving policeman has been arrested by police in Chiang Rai province after 198,000 methamphetamine pills were found in his luggage on a Bangkok-bound bus.

Mae Sai district policemen at a checkpoint in Tambon Pong-Ngam, stopped a Nakhonchai Tour bus bound for Bangkok from Mae Sai, for a routine check. The officers found a locked suitcase on the luggage rack above the front seat, occupied by Pol Lt-Col Surachit Thavuth, and asked him to open the bag for inspection.

Pol Lt-Col Surachit Thavuth is a police investigative inspector in Uthai Thani in central Thailand.

Surachit managed to run out of the bus and hid in the roadside bushes, but was eventually apprehended and brought back to the bus to unlock the bag, where the methamphetamine pills were found.

Surachit told the police he went to Mae Sai to take delivery of the drugs for transport to a drug dealer, whom he identified as ‘Oak’, in Bangkok in return for 100,000 baht. Following his arrest, Thai PBS reports that Surachit was temporarily suspended from duty and a disciplinary committee has been set up to deal with the matter.

Royal Thai Police deputy spokesman Pol Col Krisana Pattanacharoen said the national police chief Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda ordered the investigation to be expanded to find the mastermind behind the drug deal.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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