Rescuers from Britain and the United States have joined efforts to rescue a group of Thai teenagers from a cave system in Chiang Rai Province in northern Thailand. The group, comprising twelve members of a school football team, aged between eleven and sixteen, plus their coach, were trapped in the Tham Leung Cave System by rising floodwaters during a visit on Saturday 23 June 2018 and have not been contacted since, despite the best efforts of local rescue teams. These have now been joined by international cave rescue specialists, including cave divers from the UK, and a team of US military engineers who hope to lower floodwaters in the caves by drilling drainage holes.
A Thai rescue team carrying oxygen tanks in the Tham Leung Cave System in Chiang Rai Province earlier this week. Getty Images.
Most cave systems are the product of erosion, caused by water flowing through soft, porous, limestone systems and slowly eating away at the rock. This means that even cave systems which are not permanently flooded tend to be prone to flooding during wet weather, as is currently the case in Thailand, where, as in other parts of Southeast Asia, an exceptionally heavy Southwest Monsoon, caused by high temperatures over the Bay of Bengal, has lead to widespread flooding this year.
A member of a Thai military rescue team in the Tham Leung Cave System on Wednesday 27 June 2018.
Diagrammatic representation of wind and rainfall patterns in a tropical monsoon climate. Geosciences/University of Arizona.
The winds that drive the Northeast and Southwest Monsoons in Southeast Asia. Mynewshub.
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