Thailand Cave: rescue operations resumed in Thailand for saving eight boys

The Thailand Navy Official page advise about the resumption of the operation to extricate the Thay soccer player and their coach from the cave. There will be no news until 4 hours, the time that navy seals needs to reach the Tham Luang Cave and pass over the "Chocke point", the critical 38-centimetre hole in the rock that boys have squeeze trough more than 17 days ago.

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Rescue operation restart today in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex. The Thai Navy Seals are operating in partnership with other 35 specialized sub from Australia, U.S. and U.K. with a plan that was defied by their own “too risky”. One sub lost his life in the initial tentative of reaching the group. Today the same group of sodiers will try to evacuate from the cave the last eight children and the coach.

A rescue training operation during a dive exercise, source ECRA

The youngsters and with wors clinically conditions guys, aged between 11 and 16, faced a dangerous and frightening journey out of the flooded Tham Luang cave system on Sunday. But all of them excape from the cave in good condition. The boys were found huddled on a narrow bank a few feet above the water, after the most difficult passage in the cave, the “choke point”: it is a 200m dive during the three-kilometre route, where the boys had to squeeze through a narrow, 38-centimetre hole in the rock. Actually 19 australian personnel are invoved in the Thailand cave rescue operation, including a doctor specialized in spelunking and “subterranean medicine”, which is a specific rescue protocol for saving and taking care about people who remain injured during a cave exploration.
Canyoning and cave activity takes place in very hostile environment. Any doctor who undertakes a rescue operation requires very good physical fitness, good knowledge of speleo and caving, especially rope techniques and the ability of working in diffcult conditions, and in the water. Doctors – that usually have to know ACLS techniques – may have to spend a long time swimming and roping for reaching the patients. One of the most common problem in this situation is managing hipothermia, due to cold conditions.

 

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Speleo Trauma Care is a specific training course based on the international guidelines, but develope specifically for the first-responder and rescuers who need rules for operating in cave rescue situations. PHTC and BTLS are the mainly guidelines that any operators have to know. Following a safety check and a first assessment to the patient, the next step in the evacuation procedure regards helping the injured on the returing way. There are commor reserarch especially published by the Wilderness & Environmental Medicine about the epidemiology of caving injuries. There are no collective data analyzing injury mechanism or type in an austere environments. Only in the U.S – between 1980 and 2008 – there were 877 incidents reported. The knowledge of the rescuers is really important in this kind of operations.

This is the reason why many technician usually perform rescue exercise. For example, in Europe there is an European Cave Rescue Association that promote exchange of knowledge and experience in the field of cave rescue.The ECRA Cave Rescue Divign Commission is an organized group of cave rescue divers, which participate in joint exercises throughout the European caves, as well as conducting joint dives and expeditions in private time. The group consists of about 80 cave divers from several European countries. ECRA has at least 40 cave rescue divers, including doctors, who are currently available and ready for similar interventions.

“Everybody hopes that the conditions in Tham Luang Nang Non Cave will allow the rescue as soon as possible” ECRA write on its blog.

 

To better understand what kind of feeling you could touch diving on a cave, with difficult visibility conditions and confined spaces, you can read this contribution from the TDISDI website, realized by Jeff Bozanic, technical diving instructor and research scientist.

I hang, suspended, weightless. Moving my feet slowly, I glide through crystalline waters. Deeper, ever deeper I sink, slowly floating towards the floor. Finally, I stop. Hovering motionless above the floor, I examine the flakes of rust red rock that are strewn across the bottom like a dump truck load of petrified cornflakes emptied many millennia ago. As I hang examining the rocky floor, I ponder the realism and surrealism of conducting research underwater in caves. CONTINUE…

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