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Ex-Navy SEAL: Kids Will Die if Thai Soccer Team Tries to Scuba Dive Out of Flooded Cave

Rescue workers in Thailand have discovered the soccer team that recently went missing in the Tham Luang cave complex, but experts are trying to work through the challenges that remain before they can be extracted and brought to the surface.

It was 11 days ago that the 12 boys and their coach disappeared after rising flood waters trapped them inside the cave. Thai Navy SEAL teams found them after nine days and have provided food and medical attention, but there’s an ongoing debate about how to safely get them out.

Multiple news sources say that rescuers have been teaching the team the basics of scuba diving in case they try swimming out of the flooded cave. However, no one on the team knows how to swim, let alone dive, so there’s an extremely-high safety risk in having them try to navigate the challenging underwater route.

Former US Navy SEAL Cade Courtley spoke to CNN and said that between the team’s physical condition and the challenges involved, diving out of the cave should be considered a strict last resort.

“We have the luxury of time,” Courtley said, noting that the group is currently in a “stable and non-life threatening” situation in the cave.

“There are so many ways that that can go wrong,” Courtley said. “If in 2018, given the huge team of experts we have on the ground there, if they can’t figure out a way to divert, dam and shore up any additional water from entering…if we can’t do that in 2018, and we’re saying diving is our best option, that’s a problem.”

“I hate to say this, but some of these kids are going to die in an effort to try and bring them out using dive equipment,” he added.

As Courtley noted, another option rescue workers have considered is bringing in industrial pumps to draw water out of the cave. However, monsoon rains could pose a complication to that plan, and the kids could face the danger of carbon dioxide buildup if they’re forced to wait underground until the rainy season ends.

Other rescue options are still being considered, one of which involves looking through the mountains and seeing if there’s an air hole they can dig through to get the team out that way.

Watch above, via CNN.

[Image via screengrab]

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