Gainesville cave divers explain challenges in Thailand cave rescue

Cave diving rescue in Thailand

It took three days and 19 divers maneuvering through dark passageways and murky waters to rescue a soccer team and their coach from a flooded cave in Thailand.

The mission wasn't an easy one -- rescuers were fighting against time to rescue the team before heavy rains flooded the cave again.

Local cave diving expert Woody Jasper knows all about the dangers of cave diving.

" I've made about a thousand cave dives, ten body recoveries and two rescues," Jasper said.

Jasper and his long time friend Tom Morris have been cave diving for over 30 years.

Morris said rescuers in Thailand faced many challenges and obstacles on their mission.

"The main thing is those boys had no scuba training whatsoever and they were so young," Morris said. " Its pretty amazing how they gave them a quickie course and put those full face masks on them and brought them out."

Morris said during any rescue one of the most important tools divers use is a guideline.

"Just like Hansel and Gretel dropped the breadcrumbs to find their way back out of the forest, we string this string out and we can follow it back."

The boys in Thailand followed guidelines through dark water with low visibility and a very narrow point that was just 15 inches wide to get out of the cave.

"There's absolutely no room for panic in cave diving," Morris said. " That will get you in big time trouble."

Despite the challenges, rescuers were able to get all 12 boys and their coach out of the cave and on the road to recovery.


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