A  Thai soccer team has been trapped in a cave now for over 9 days.  Heavy rainfall has caused cave waters to rise trapping them, 1.4 miles in and ½ mile deep in the cave.  Options are: dive through the cave water and bring the boys out, wait for flood water to go down allowing the boys to get out on their own, find another natural entrance or create another entrance.

“According to Mirza, that last option of using a natural entrance is becoming less and less likely and instead officials are focusing on the first two. But if additional flooding threatens the area where the boys are currently sheltered, they may have no choice but to dive their way out – a feat for even the most experienced divers.”

When I was in college a group of students went into Blanchard Springs Cavern exploring.  The same thing happened to them.  They were trapped in the cave by rising water.  Navy divers finally went in to get them out.  One of the divers had a heart attack and died in the process.

Blanchard Springs Cavern

Arkansas

-_-_-_-_-_-_-

When my now 25 year old granddaughter was 10 we took her to see “Everest”, at an iMax theater in Charlotte, NC.  We watched a team of mountain climbers get caught by an unseasonable blizzard on the side of Mount Everest.  Some died.  Some lost body parts to frost bite.  My granddaughter’s comment as we left the theater was, “Papa, I’m never going to climb mountains.”

That’s how I feel about spelunking. 

Tours into Blanchard Springs Cavern near Mountain View, Arkansas, and in Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, have been enough for me. 

We toured Mammoth Cave while I was stationed at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky in 1972 with our 21/2 year old daughter.  At one point – after explaining to everyone how dark a cave was - the guide turned the dim lights in the cave off.  Everyone got the message but our daughter.  There was a moment’s silence and then a terrified scream.  There is no light in a cave; none.  Nothing much changes in a cave.  Constant temperature and humidity and the nitre in the soil of Mammoth Springs kept the remains of a man so well preserved that,

“Two thousand three hundred years later, In 1935, Civilian Conservation Corps workers Grover Campbell and Lyman Cutliff climbed that selfsame ledge and discovered, with little more light than that given off by cane torches, the unnerving scene of an ancient tragedy. A human head and arm, the only visible parts of a body pinned beneath a six-ton boulder.”

The “mummy” found in Mammoth Cave is actually only one of several.  Researchers know that the man went into the cave to dig ochre which, along with other minerals, was used for some purpose by the man’s group.  They know what he had for lunch, but they still don’t know what the minerals were used for.  In the process of digging the ochre the man dislodged a six ton boulder which pinned him to ta ledge in the cave.

The mummified man had taken several cane torches with him to light his way in and out.  Moss doesn’t grow on any side of a cave.  Moss requires some light. 

I hope the Thai boys get rescued.  Because the rains are monsoon rains the water may not go down until October.  Food and other supplies have been delivered to the boys and their coach.

To date no natural connection to the surface from the team’s location has been found.  No one seems to be considering drilling a shaft half a mile to rescue the team.

The option of diving the boys out will not be taken lightly. It is the least attractive choice for rescue. There are significant technical challenges to diving through a narrow flooded passage.

It’s beginning to look like authorities are favoring delivering supplies to the boys and waiting until October when the monsoon is over, waters have receded, and the team can walk out.

They are going to need a lot of Tiki torches for that, and will their air run out if there is no natural connection to the surface?

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Comment by koshersalaami on July 5, 2018 at 8:53am

I’m phobic about this. I can’t imagine having gone down. I think I’d rather starve to death than be a miner. 

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on July 5, 2018 at 8:53am

On one of our cross country drives, Suzy and I visited Mammoth Cave and experienced the "turn the lights off" thing. 

It was kind of "interesting" (in a macabre way) seeing how different people responded to it.  For example, I was totally petrified and frozen in place and I still have scars of Suzy's fingernail marks in my arm.

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on July 5, 2018 at 9:46am

The endless television adverts here for Luray Caverns (Virginia) have dwindled to next-to-nil over the past week. 

Comment by koshersalaami on July 5, 2018 at 11:25am

Luray has an elevator and another exit, nor is it that kind of deep. There are uncharted places in Luray but not where they take tourists. 

Still, the idea is the idea

Comment by Rodney Roe on July 5, 2018 at 12:45pm

There is so much to being a Jewish mother.

Remember when a mine in (I think) Chile, caved in trapping miners for an extended period.  A shaft was created to get them out.

As to the horror of being a miner, my Austrian great grandfather's last name was Grubb.  That appears to be an occupational name for "miner".  Like the English meaning of grubbing in the dirt.  It depresses me to think of ancestors spending their lives "down in a deep dark hole".

Comment by Ron Powell on July 5, 2018 at 2:11pm

Engaging in an activity for leisure that has the potential of endangering the life of another is not my idea of sensible....

"Navy divers finally went in to get them out.  One of the divers had a heart attack and died in the process."

Rescue often involves risk that is greater than the risks that precipitated the rescue action.....Risking life for fun and enjoyment makes far less sense to me than risking $1000 on a bluff at the poker table....

Amusement park rides are supposed to be risk free...Thats about as much risk as I might take for the pleasure of it....

There are those who say they don't gamble, but who will risk their lives and the lives of others simply for the thrill of having done so... .

To my way of thinking, that makes no sense at all...

Comment by Rodney Roe on July 5, 2018 at 11:48pm

"Thai cave rescue: Former Navy diver dies while exiting flooded tunnels"  The man who perished was a former Thai Navy Seal.  As was previously commented; putting your own life at risk is your business, putting the lives of others at risk is thoughtless at best.

Comment by Rodney Roe on July 6, 2018 at 4:51am

Monkey, I was for a time in an art studio next to a woman with an Italian last name. She called the bank to complain about some charge and I was privy to the whole conversation. By the time she was through the banker was offerying her money. When she hung up she peeked around the corner, grinned, and said, “I learned that from my Jewish mother.” Y’all don’t back down.

Comment by Steel Breeze on July 6, 2018 at 7:24am

i'm gonna assume if they get food and supplies to them,they can also pump down air if needed....

Comment by Steel Breeze on July 6, 2018 at 7:36am

btw,i just read that they dont know how to swim......

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