The last of the 12 boys to be pulled out of the flooded Thai cave Tuesday along with their soccer coach were rescued in the…
The last of the 12 boys to be pulled out of the flooded Thai cave Tuesday along with their soccer coach were rescued in the nick of time – as water pumps failed only hours later, divers have revealed.
Divers and rescuers were still about a mile inside the Tham Luang cave clearing up equipment when the main pump failed, leading water levels to rapidly rise, three Australian divers told the UK’s Guardian.
The three Aussies, who were stationed in a base inside the complex, said they heard yelling and saw workers scrambling from deeper inside the tunnel to reach dry ground.
“The screams started coming because the main pumps failed and the water started rising,” said one of the divers, speaking anonymously because he was not authorized to comment.
“All these headlights start coming over the hill and the water was coming… It was noticeably rising,” the diver said.
The rest of the 100 workers inside the cave rushed to the exit and were out less than an hour later, including the last three Thai navy SEALs and the medic who had helped the trapped boys.
As the group was passed up the human chain of rescuers, each section began to cheer and applaud.
The rescuers had spent more than eight hours a day standing on a patch of muddy ground waiting for their turn to pass the boys along the dangerous path to freedom.
“If one of those people doesn’t do their jobs properly, the stretcher falls,” one diver said.
The boys, who wore diving cylinders and were each tethered to an adult diver, had to submerge themselves for much of the trip but were carried on bright red stretchers whenever they entered sections of dry ground.
When the Australian divers arrived June 30, “the complexity and scale [of the cave] was unknown”, Australian police official Glen McEwen said at a briefing Wednesday, according to the Guardian.
They were unable to venture deeper into the cave because their gear was too large to fit into the narrow openings. Specialist divers and the boys used smaller equipment in their sides, rather than on their backs.
McEwen said the Thai-led operation was the most complicated the police had been involved with.
“It’s amazing what a human being can do,” he said. “They were extraordinary people doing extraordinary things.”