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Chiang Rai

“Unrealistic and very risky.” Academic warns about cave rescue.

The Thaiger & The Nation

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“Unrealistic and very risky.” Academic warns about cave rescue. | The Thaiger

By Pratch Rujianrom

Associate Professor Ariya Aruninta from Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok is warning that the focus on evacuating the trapped 13 by drying the cave was unrealistic and very risky.

Draining water out of the Tham Luang cave is an impossible mission, she claims, even as the rescue operation makes headway and pumping water from the flooded cave has been considered the most important challenge to rescue the trapped footballers.

Aria says it’s impractical to control the inflow of water into the cave system or effectively pump the water out, especially during the rainy season. Ariya pointed out that it was not just the floodwater inside the Tham Luang cave system that the rescue team is dealing with, but the entire subterranean aquifer system of the whole mountain range.

“The mission’s water-draining capacity cannot match the enormous volume of water flowing from the mountain during the rainy season,” she said.

“The rescue team has already faced a difficult situation. The rainy season has just started and the rainy weather will unleash its full power during the four-month period from now.”

She explained that the Tham Luang cave is a part of a limestone mountain ecosystem and when it is raining on the mountain, the water will be absorbed into the subterranean aquifer system through infiltration and later spring out as streams and rivers. She emphasised that the cave is also part of a vast underground water system. She said the plan to evacuate the footballers out of the cave by teaching them to dive through the submerged cave was a very dangerous idea, because the water level in the cave can rise very rapidly without warning from heavy downpours on the mountain above.

Ariya suggested that instead of fighting a hopeless battle against nature, the rescue team should focus on finding safer methods to get the team out.

Meanwhile, Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn said the water drainage operation was the most crucial task before the rescue team at this moment, as the lower the floodwater in the cave the higher the chance to get the stranded footballers out of the cave safely.

“We are now focusing on continuing the well-organised water drainage operation, and at least maintain the current water drainage capacity in order to prepare for more rain,” Narongsak said.

“So far the operation to reduce floodwater inside the cave has been satisfying, as the water level is slowly but continuously receding at around one centimetre per hour.”

Maj-General Chalongchai Chaiyakham, the deputy commander of the 3rd Army, also disclosed that the rescue team had successfully drained up to 128 million litres of water out of the cave system. Chalongchai said the effort to lower the water level in the cave by pumping out groundwater in the area had already removed up to 350,000 litres per hour from the subterranean aquifer system.

Additionally, two streams to the South and the North of Doi Nang Non Mountain, Haui Makaeng and Huai Nam Dan, were also diverted through the cooperation of the local people and related agencies, as per the suggestion of Thailand’s prominent geologist Chaiporn Siripornpibul in order to curb the water inflow to the cave system through many stream sinks along these streams.

Chaiporn, who went to Chiang Rai to examine the streams, said according to his estimates up to 70 per cent of the water in these streams flow into the cave system through many cracks and sinkholes along the natural course of the streams, so he proposed the construction of weirs over these streams to stop the water flowing into these stream sinks.

“The water diversion at Huai Nam Dan is very successful, as we can divert up to 50 per cent of the water inflow or 13,000 cubic metres of water through the stream sinks,” he said.

STORY: The Nation



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Chiang Rai

History books will have to rewrite the Tham Luang cave story

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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History books will have to rewrite the Tham Luang cave story | The Thaiger

“Two British divers have today found the 13 team members perched on the Nerm Nom Sao ledge.”

“I promise I will care for the kids as best as possible. I want to say thank you for all the support,” 25 year old Cochairs Ekk wrote in a touching letter, nine days after they were found sitting atop a ledge known as “Nerm Nom Sao” inside the Tham Luang cave by British divers.

And so the narrative goes of the two British divers finding the team at the, now famous, Nerm Nom Sao ledge deep inside the cave. It was said to be about 400 metres past the better known ‘Pattaya Beach’ rise in the caves. The famous photos of the 13 boys perched on the ledge, surviving there for more than a week with only water, went viral around the world.

You can read 100s of versions of the famous discovery on websites, book and documentaries around the world.

Except that, according to one of the British divers who found the boys, it’s wrong.

History books will have to rewrite the Tham Luang cave story | News by The Thaiger

Today Australia’s ABC SE Asian correspondent Liam Cochrane revealed that the ‘Nerm Nom Sao’ ledge doesn’t even exist.

According to Liam Cochrane’s Tweet (with corrected grammar)

In a stunning revelation, British caver Vern Unsworth says the #Thai Wild Boars football team was not trapped at ‘Nerm Nom Sao’ but were at ‘Pattaya Beach’ all along. Mr Unsworth went in last month to help clear Tham Luang of silt. Vern Unsworth told the ABC: “Nerm Nom Sao doesn’t exist, it’s a figment if some journalist’s imagination.” If true, this would contradict the official account, every doco and every book (including mine!)

“Well, we’ve been back to Pattaya Beach where the, where the boys were actually found,” Vernon Unsworth told the ABC, just before he guided the Australians into the cave.

Dr Richard Harris and Cr Craig Challen, the two medical cave divers who were instrumental in hatching the plan to sedate the young men as a pivotal part of the cave rescue, revisited the Tham Luang Caves in Chiang Rai today after receiving Thai medals to honour their contribution in a ceremony in Bangkok last Friday.

History books will have to rewrite the Tham Luang cave story | News by The Thaiger History books will have to rewrite the Tham Luang cave story | News by The Thaiger

 

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Chiang Rai

Australian Tham Luang cave divers receive prestigious Thai awards

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Australian Tham Luang cave divers receive prestigious Thai awards | The Thaiger

Australian cave divers Dr Richard Harris and Dr Craig Challen have been conferred the Most Admirable Order of the Direkgunabhorn at a ceremony in Bangkok, for their crucial role in the Tham Luang cave rescue.

The pair received the honour in a ceremony at Government House in Bangkok on Friday afternoon, before meeting with the PM Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha.

“It’s very exciting, it’s great to be back,” Dr Harris said.

“We had no idea at the time of the rescue that this was going to be such a big story.”

Drs Harris and Challen have returned to Thailand for the first time since their crucial contribution to the rescue of the 13 young footballers from the Tham Luang cave site in Chiang Rai almost a year ago.

Drs Harris and Challen were also in January jointly named Australians of the Year – one of the country’s highest honours.

The pair will now travel to Chiang Rai to return to the Tham Luang cave site and meet with the MU Pa football team and their families tomorrow (Monday).

“That’s really exciting for us to go and see them and make sure they’re well and see how they’re doing after the rescue,” Dr Harris said.

Australian Tham Luang cave divers receive prestigious Thai awards | News by The Thaiger

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Bangkok

Severe localised storms predicted for central, north and north-east until April 16

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Severe localised storms predicted for central, north and north-east until April 16 | The Thaiger

FILE PHOTO

The meteorological office (TMD) says there could be localised severe thunder storms for the entire upper area of the country until Tuesday.

The north, north-east, eastern seaboard and central regions, including Bangkok and surrounding areas could all be randomly hit by tropical thunderstorms.

The TMD office director Phuwiang Prakhammin has warned of rain storms, thunder and lightning, high winds and even hail.

“People were warned to avoid open spaces, not to stand under trees as it is a lightning strike hazard and be careful of unstable advertising hoardings.”

Farmers have also been warned about protecting their livestock and crops in the agriculture-heavy northeastern provinces. Here are the provinces that may be affected…

Northeast: Bueng Kan, Sakon Nakhon, Nakhon Phanom, Mukdahan, Khon Kaen, Chaiyaphum, Kalasin, Maha Sarakham, Roi Et, Yasothon Loei, Nong Bua Lamphu, Khon Kaen, Chaiyaphum, Nakhon Ratchasima, Buri Ram, Surin, Si Sa Ket and Ubon Ratchathani

Northern region: Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phayao, Phrae, Nan, Lampang, Tak, Sukhothai, Uttaradit, Phitsanulok, Kamphaeng Phet, Phichit and Phetchabun

Central: Nakhon Sawan, Uthai Thani, Chai Nat, Sing Buri, Ang Thong, Ayutthaya, Lop Buri, Saraburi, Suphanburi, Ratchaburi, Kanchanaburi, and Bangkok.

East: Prachin Buri, Sa Kaeo, Nakhon Nayok, Chachoengsao, Chon Buri, Rayong, Chanthaburi and Trat

SOURCE: Daily News

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