BANGKOK, 6 July 2018: Thai Airways International and Thai Smile celebrated the rescue team’s success in reaching the 12 youth football players and their coach, who still remain trapped inside Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Mae Sai District, Chiang Rai province.
The two airlines are supporting the ongoing rescue effort, which includes providing international experts with complimentary air travel.
The football team and coach were found on day 9 of their ordeal by two UK cave dive specialists.
The three cave diving experts were Robert Charles Harper, Richard William Stanton, and John Volanthen, who travelled from London to Bangkok on a THAI flight that arrived 27 June to join the rescue operation underway by the Royal Thai Navy SEAL team.
Stanton and Volanthen were the two cave divers credited with finding the boys late in the evening on the ninth day.
THAI is providing their air travel for the return trip to London, while THAI Smile is providing travel on the domestic Chiang Rai-Bangkok and also Hat Yai-Bangkok for eight bird nest collectors from Libong Island in Trang’s Kantang district who volunteered to help the rescue mission.
THAI and THAI Smile expressed thanks to all officials, civilians, volunteers and rescuers from Thailand and overseas who are participating in the search and rescue.
The youth football team and their coach sought refuge on a ledge some 4 km deep into Tham Luang Nang Non cave and remain there waiting evacuation, which will depend on the water level in the chambers and tunnels.
Fearing more rainstorms could further inundate the cave system; officials said the boys might have to remain on higher ground in the cave system for up to four months.
However, they are hoping the weather will remains clear to allow rescue teams to pump out enough water to make an extraction less risky for the children.