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Chiang Rai

Options and opportunities – getting the football team out of the caves

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Options and opportunities – getting the football team out of the caves | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: The Nation/Thai Navy Seals Facebook Page

“…all of them are in the good hands of seven Navy SEALs, who will be with them and take care of them all the time.”

Authorities are mulling whether they should wait for water levels to subside, which could take a long time, or use divers to bring the footballers out in a risky evacuation before rains return.

Rescue crews are now set to carry out the daunting task of bringing the 13 stranded footballers out of the Tham Luang cave via the partially flooded passage, as that remains the only way out. Exploration for alternate ways could take too much time amid the forecast of more downpours, making it likely that the 12 young footballers and their coach would be evacuated today.

“If heavy downpours resume, floodwater in the cave will definitely rise. So, it is necessary that we get the victims out first,” Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda said yesterday.

At present, the victims have been given minerals, food, water, and lighting. A doctor, a nurse, and Navy SEALs are now keeping them company. Despite the urgency, the trapped footballers may have to stay inside the cave for months until they are strong enough to travel out of the cave, Navy SEALs commander Rear Admiral Arpakorn Yukongkaew said. Arpakorn stated that he could not answer how long the team will have to stay inside the cave, as it depended on the state of readiness of each boy.

“Everyone can be relieved now, as all of them are in the good hands of seven Navy SEALs, who will be with them and take care of them all the time,” he said.

“Two of the Navy SEALs are medical practitioners with expertise in this task, while there will be constant food and medicine provided to the trapped footballers and a communication line to the outside world set up.”

Options and opportunities - getting the football team out of the caves | News by The Thaiger

He also asked the public not to be concerned about the level of floodwater while the boys are still inside the cave, as their location is safe and high enough to protect them from floodwater. His opinion was at odds with Anupong who seemed bent on pushing ahead with the operation to get the stranded team out. One of the contingency plans is to have two professional divers take care of each of the kids on their way out of the complicated cave network. Anupong admitted that this option was risky because diving in such a condition is highly challenging due to the narrow passage and negative factors including darkness.

The minister said the authorities would weigh the pros and cons of the action plan as suggested by rescue experts before making the final decision. However, as it is not possible to pump all water out of some sections of the route due to their depth, authorities are considering training the children to dive.

According to a tentative action plan, two of the three phases of the rescue have already taken place. In the first phase, a group of four SEAL divers and rescue experts with survival kits and food will return and stay with the group for an unspecified period. During this time, the experts will also conduct an additional structural survey of the site to ensure safety. In the second phase, a doctor and other experts will join the group to do medical and related check-ups of all 13 persons and adjust their living conditions. In the third phase, more food will be supplied and there will be diving sessions for the boys while authorities continue to pump more water out of the cave network.

Options and opportunities - getting the football team out of the caves | News by The Thaiger

Externally, authorities have also stepped up efforts to divert water from fresh rains in other directions to minimise flooding inside the cave network. Another option is to find a natural opening or drill an entry point near where the 13 persons have been stranded to get them out of the cave network through the roof. Dr Suttisak Soralump of Kasetsart University, a geo-technical engineer, said his team had earlier drilled an exploratory hole in the cave network to help find natural openings near the site where the team is trapped.

The external drilling point is about 1,200 metres above sea level while Pattaya Beach, which is near where the team is located, is about 500 metres above sea level.

Bill Whitehouse, vice chairman of the British Cave Rescue Council, was quoted by CNN as suggesting that there are significant technical challenges and risks regarding the option to dive the kids out of the cave network. Narrow passageways along the route could lead to serious complications during the rescue, he said.

Options and opportunities - getting the football team out 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

The Thaiger & The Nation

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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

The Thaiger

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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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