4 more boys brought out of flooded cave
An ambulance allegedly
carrying one of the rescued boys heads to the hospital in Chiang Rai city,
Monday, July 9. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Mae Sai (AP) — Four more of the youth soccer
players trapped for over two weeks in the flooded cave in northern Thailand
were brought out on Monday, an official said, bringing to eight the number
extracted in the ongoing high-stakes rescue operation.
"The eighth person is out and the
operation is done for today," Sitthichai Klangpattana, flag officer to
Thailand's navy SEAL commander, told The Associated Press. "Four boys were
brought out today."
He didn't comment on the health of the
boys or how well the operation had gone. After Monday's rescue effort, four
boys and their coach were still inside the labyrinth cave.
On Sunday, when the high-risk rescue
operation to rescue the 12 boys and their coach began, teams of divers
brought out four of the boys but waited several hours before confirming
their safe rescue.
The Facebook page of the Thai Navy
SEALs, who have been central to the rescue operation, was updated Monday
night to say "two days, eight boars" — a reference to the Wild Boars, the
name of the boys' soccer team. The message, like most posted by the SEALs,
ended with the fighting cheer adopted from the U.S. Navy: Hooyah.
Chiang Rai acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn said
earlier Monday that the second phase began at 11 a.m. and authorities "hope
to hear good news in the next few hours."
"All conditions are still as good as they were
yesterday," Narongsak told a news conference. "The boys' strength, the plan
— today we are ready like before. And we will do it faster because we are
afraid of the rain."
Authorities have been rushing to extract the boys, ages
11-16, and their coach from the cave as the annual monsoon bears down on the
mountainous region in far northern Chiang Rai province. Workers have been
laboring around the clock to pump water out of the cave, and authorities
said Monday that heavy downpours overnight did not raise water levels
The four boys guided from the cave Sunday in an urgent
and dangerous operation that involved them diving through the cave's dark,
tight and twisting passages were happy and in good health, authorities said.
"This morning they said they were hungry and wanted to
eat khao pad grapao," Narongsak said.
Still, the four were undergoing medical checks in a
hospital in the provincial capital and were not yet allowed close contact
with relatives due to fear of infections. Relatives were able to see them
through a glass partition, the governor said.
The search and rescue operation has riveted people both
in Thailand and internationally, with journalists from across the globe
traveling to this town along the border with Myanmar to report on the
Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda had said early
Monday that the same group of expert divers who took part in Sunday's rescue
would return to extricate the others because they know the cave conditions
and what to do. He had said fresh air tanks needed to be laid along the
Authorities have said extracting the entire team from
the cave could take up to four days, but Sunday's success raised hopes that
it could be done faster.
5 reported missing from sunken boat are alive
Thailand Prime Minister
Prayuth Chan-ocha consoles a relative of a victim in the last week's boat
accident, Monday, July 9, 2018, on the tourist island of Phuket, Thailand.
The death toll from Thursday's boat accident climbed to dozens, in
Thailand's biggest tourist-related disaster in years. The boat, with 105
people, including 93 tourists, capsized and sank after it was hit by 5-meter
(16-foot) waves. (AP Photo)
Phuket (AP) — Five people reported to have been
missing from the tour boat that sank in a storm off Phuket last week are
alive, authorities said Monday, though it's unclear if the five survived the
sinking or never got on the boat.
Phuket Gov. Norrapat Plodthong said authorities are
trying to verify their details and some of them may have left Thailand.
Norrapat said the development came after new
information emerged from Thai immigration and the Chinese Embassy.
The new information also showed there were 89 tourists,
87 of them Chinese, on the boat, instead of the previous figure of 93, he
The number of people who are missing has been lowered
from 14 to 10, including the five who are alive but whose whereabouts are
unclear, he said. The death toll remains at 42, including a body still
trapped under the wreckage.
The double-decker Phoenix capsized and sank late
Thursday afternoon after it was hit by 5-meter waves in one of Thailand's
worse tourism-related disasters since the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that
Officials said all of the dead were Chinese comprising
13 children, 18 women and 10 men. The age and sex of the body still under
the wreckage wasn't known.
Navy officials on Monday were attempting to flip the
boat to retrieve the body and check for other possible victims. Special
equipment has been brought in to lift up the boat, which is sitting some 45
meters beneath the surface, officials said.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has expressed his
"profound sadness" in a letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping. In the
letter released by the foreign ministry Monday, Prayuth said a full
investigation is underway to find the cause of the tragedy and assured Xi
his government is determined to ensure such incidents would not recur.
Prayuth arrived in Phuket on Monday to observe the
operations and will visit Chinese relatives and survivors at a hospital.
China's tourism ministry warned people to be careful
during water-based activities abroad. The notice carried in Chinese media
Monday said travelers should closely monitor weather and sea conditions and
obey all warnings. Without mentioning Thailand, the notice said some cruise
companies exercised lax management and maintained inadequate safety
Police said the captain of the Phoenix has been charged
with "careless conduct leading to death" and could face more than three
years in jail.
A Chinese relative of a victim in the recent boat
sinking is consoled at the Vachira Phuket Hospital in Phuket, Sunday, July
8. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Number of smokers in Thailand down to 10.7 million
Bangkok - A recent tobacco
consumption study by the Ministry of Public Health, shows that the number of
smokers in Thailand has decreased to 10.7 million, while around 100,000
deaths per year are attributed to coronary heart disease and stroke.
Deputy Permanent-Secretary for Public
Health, Dr Opas Karnkawinpong chaired the recent 17th national conference on
cigarette smoking. The conference attributed the decrease in the number of
smokers to campaigns from 1991-2017 to limit the number of new smokers from
the age group 15 - 24, as well as efforts to encourage existing smokers to
The conference also revealed that among
the 100,000 deaths per year due to coronary heart disease and stroke, one in
five cases was due to cigarette smoking. Nicotine and other toxins found in
cigarettes cause a narrowing of the arteries that can lead to heart disease
Govt urged to make rules to regulate blockchain technology
Bangkok - The government and private sector are
urging society to be enthusiastic about developments in the financial
business such as blockchain technology.
On Sunday, former Deputy Prime Minister Phongthep
Thepkanchana presided over a seminar on blockchain at the Royal Thai Navy
Convention Hall. A lot of Thai and foreign businesspeople, many from China,
participated in the seminar.
Blockchain is a technology that manages digital assets
via a database in which all the nodes in a network possess the same
information at all times. Blockchain is currently used by new financial
businesses to provide easier and more convenient financial services to
The seminar was expected to encourage blockchain
learning and development of new services using blockchain. The seminar
suggested the government urgently study the technology, impose clear
regulations and support investment in blockchain by the private sector.
4 rescued from Thai cave in risky operation; 9 remain inside
In this grab taken from video provide by Chiang
Rai Public Relations Office, emergency workers carry a stretcher with one of
the rescued boy to be transported by ambulance to a hospital, in Mae Sai,
Sunday, July 8. (Chiang Rai Public Relations Office via AP)
Tassanee Vejpongsa and Kaweewit Kaewjinda
Mae Sai (AP) — Expert divers
Sunday rescued four of 12 boys from the flooded cave in northern Thailand
where they had been trapped with their soccer coach for more than two weeks.
Eight boys and the coach remain inside
the Tham Luang Nang Non cave as authorities paused the international effort
to replenish air tanks along the treacherous exit route.
Extracting everyone could take up to
four days, but the initial success raised hopes that could be done.
"The operation went much better than
expected," said Chiang Rai acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn, who is
overseeing the mission.
He told reporters the four rescued boys
were taken to the hospital in the town of Chiang Rai, the provincial
capital, for evaluation, and the next phase of the operation will resume
after about 10-20 hours.
The names of the rescued boys were not
His announcement, at a news conference
more than an hour after helicopters and ambulances were seen rushing from
the cave area, drew cheers and applause.
Narongsak had dubbed Sunday to be
"D-day" as the complicated effort was launched in the morning.
He said 13 foreign divers and five Thai
navy SEALs were taking part in the key leg of the rescue: taking the boys
from where they have been sheltering and through dark, tight and twisting
passageways filled with muddy water and strong currents.
Two divers were to accompany each of
the boys, all of whom have been learning to dive only since July 2, when the
first searchers found them.
Cave rescue experts consider an
underwater escape to be a last resort, especially with people untrained in
The death Friday of a former Thai navy
SEAL, Saman Gunan, underscored the risks. The diver, the first fatality of
the rescue effort, was working in a volunteer capacity and died on a mission
to place oxygen canisters along the route.
But Narongsak said earlier that recent
mild weather and falling water levels had created optimal conditions for an
underwater evacuation. Those conditions won't last if the rain resumes, he
After the four boys were removed from
the cave, heavy rain started falling.
The potential for rising water and the
dwindling oxygen levels added to the urgency of getting the team out.
Efforts to pump water out of the cave have been set back by heavy downpours.
The next phase of the operation would
start sometime Monday after rescue teams replenish the supply of oxygen
tanks along the route.
On Sunday night, Thai navy SEALs posted
a celebratory note on their Facebook page, saying: "Have sweet dreams
everyone. Good night. Hooyah."
Meanwhile Elon Musk's Space X rocket
company has tested a "tiny kid-sized submarine" that could potentially help
the children through the narrow, flooded cave passageways. A spokesman for
Musk's Boring Co. tunneling unit, which has four engineers at the cave, said
in an email Sunday that officials had requested the device. If the tests
were successful, the sub would be placed on a 17-hour flight to Thailand. He
posted a video of a diver testing the device in a pool.
President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday:
"The U.S. is working very closely with the Government of Thailand to help
get all of the children out of the cave and to safety. Very brave and
Thailand pledges justice for Chinese victims of boat tragedy
A Chinese rescue team arrives at Chalong pier in
Phuket in Phuket, Sunday, July 8. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Phuket (AP) — The Thai
government pledged Sunday to ensure justice for Chinese victims of the tour
boat that sank in a storm off the southern resort island of Phuket, killing
42 people and leaving another 14 missing.
Tourism Minister Weerasak Kowsurat said
the government will "spare no one" as it seriously investigates the tragedy,
one of the largest tourism-related disasters in Thailand since the 2004
tsunami that killed thousands.
Police were investigating whether the
double-decker Phoenix dive boat had been inspected by marine officials as
required before it set sail Thursday, Weerasak said. The Meteorological
Department issued warnings for small ships not to go to sea that day but
bigger boats like the Phoenix could sail after inspection.
The boat, with 105 people, including 93
tourists, capsized and sank after it was hit by 5-meter waves. Officials
said all of the dead were Chinese comprising 13 children, 18 women and 10
men. The age and sex of another body wasn't known.
Tourism is a vital part of the Thai
economy, with the World Bank estimating the Southeast Asian nation generates
about 12 percent of its gross domestic product from tourism receipts.
Chinese tourists are a key driver of the industry, accounting for 9.8
million of the record 35.38 million tourists to visit the country last year.
Local police chief Sorasak Yenprem said
the captain of the Phoenix has been charged with "careless conduct leading
to death" and could face more than three years in jail.
He said the captain of another boat
that capsized Thursday and the manager of a travel agency that chartered the
boat have also been charged for being careless leading to injuries. All the
passengers from the second ship were rescued.
"We will ensure that all those
responsible for this tragic incident are brought to justice," Weerasak said.
He and other officials at the news conference then stood up and bowed to
apologize to the victims and their families.
The government will strengthen security
regulations to prevent future accidents and intensify efforts to restore
trust and confidence in its tourism sector, he added.
Officials said families of each victim
could receive up to 1.4 million Thai baht in compensation.
The disaster didn't appear to deter
visitors, with dozens of Western and Chinese tourists leaving on boats
Sunday for diving and cruise trips despite a warning issued by the
Meteorological Department for smaller ships not to go to sea.
Yi Mao Ling, a 63-year-old tourist from
China's Kunming city, said he was perplexed by the tragedy as he walked up
to a boat with his children and grandchildren for an island trip.
"It makes me feel uncomfortable but we
can go. I am not worried," he told The Associated Press.
Thai navy official Rear Adm. Charoenpol
Kumrasi said more than 30 divers were involved in an operation Sunday to
flip the sunken Phoenix to retrieve a body trapped underneath. He said they
will need more time and equipment to raise the wreckage, which is sitting
some 45 meters beneath the surface.
The search for the missing would also
continue, he said, with divers and helicopters searching areas around the
site and the nearby sea. Nearly a dozen Chinese divers were taking part in
A Chinese survivor related his ordeal
to China's CGTN television.
"The waves were really high and stormy;
they were hitting the boat constantly. I was with my sister, brother and two
friends from school. All of them are dead. I feel terrible," Huang Jun Siong
said. "I only broke my hand. I was climbing up to the top of the boat but
stuff was flying around everywhere. A big piece of glass hit me."
Many Chinese have volunteered their
services at the hospital to help distraught relatives.
"Even though we are doctors, in this
situation, it makes us feel that life is so fragile," said Fang Han Yi, a
medical student from China's Wuhan city, who volunteered at the hospital
She was in Bangkok with her two friends
but said they abandoned their holiday plans and flew to Phuket to help out.
She said one of the most heartbreaking scenes at the hospital Saturday were
that of four Chinese students who survived the ordeal but their friend
The five, from China's Guangdong
province, just graduated from high school and came to Phuket to celebrate,
"Two of the boys held each other so
tight and cried uncontrollably," Fang said. "We cried with them."
PM orders compensation for farms affected by Tham Luang water discharge
Bangkok - The Prime Minister has
ordered relevant units to provide timely compensation and assistance to
farmers who sacrificed their farmland to create retention areas for water
pumped out of Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai province.
Gen. Prayut also instructed state
officials to distribute money and seedlings to the affected farmers and to
take action to improve soil condition after the water subsides.
The Prime Minister said on Sunday
thanked the farmers for their sacrifice which helped rescuers locate the
missing youths trapped in the cave and plan ways to save their lives.
Local agriculture officials will be
assessing the damage, and providing compensation at a rate of 1,113 to 1,690
baht per 1,600 square meters (one rai) according to the type of farm.
Affected farmers can in the meantime report their damage to officials to
arrange an inspection. It is expected the compensation plan will reach a
conclusion by the end of this month.
Meanwhile, additional financial
compensation may be provided by the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives
which will be transferred directly to farmers' bank accounts should the
initial amount be considered insufficient.
Officials will also be assisting
farmers in their farming practices after the water subsides, introducing the
use of technology, supporting the growth of seedlings for new crops, and
restoring the condition of the soil.
Stateless people to get citizenship through DNA tests
Yala - The Southern Border
Provinces Administrative Centre (SBPAC) is collecting DNA samples to help
‘stateless’ people get Thai citizenship.
Supanat Sirantawineti, Secretary
General of the SBPAC, said his agency will take DNA samples in Yala,
Pattani, Narathiwat, Satun, and Songkhla provinces. The tests will be
conducted by the Central Institute of Forensic Science (CIFS) to prove the
ethnicity of stateless people and help them acquire citizenship.
Without citizenship, individuals are
deprived of their rights to healthcare, education, employment, and other
basic welfare benefits provided by the government.
Stateless people who can’t provide
enough proof to be granted citizenship must have their DNA tested, added
He says the main cause of statelessness
is parents’ failure to report the births of their children, which could stem
from their lack of understanding of the law and procedures required.
Search resumes for 23 missing tourists boat tragedy
Divers check oxygen tanks on a boat at Chalong
pier in Phuket as they prepare to recover bodies of passengers of a capsized
tourist boat, Saturday, July 7. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Phuket (AP) — Divers who entered
the wreck of a tour boat that sank in a storm off the southern resort island
of Phuket described heart-breaking scenes of bodies of children found in the
arms of their mothers, as a search resumed Saturday for some 23 mostly
Chinese tourists missing.
The death toll from Thursday's tragedy
hit 33, all of them Chinese nationals, in Thai tourism's biggest disaster in
"It's very difficult to see ... it's
traumatic, it's tragic but the best thing to do, our job as divers, is to
bring back the bodies to their families," diver Philip Entremont told
reporters before resuming the search Saturday.
The boat, with 105 people, including 93
tourists, capsized and sank after it was hit by 5-meter high waves.
The death toll jumped Friday after the
navy sent divers to the wreck. In images shortly after the sinking, rescued
people sat in large rubber life rafts surrounded by churning seas.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha
expressed his "sympathies and deepest condolences" to the families of the
dead. The government will "exert all efforts to find those still missing and
provide support to all survivors of this tragic event," he said in a
Reports in the media said police
charged the owner and captain of the stricken ship with carelessness causing
death and injury.
Chinese Ambassador Lyu Jian had an
"emergency conversation" by phone with Thai Deputy Prime Minister Somkid
Jatusripitak, the Chinese Embassy said in a statement. It quoted the envoy
calling on Thailand to quickly mobilize an intensive search for the missing
and "to tend and make appropriate arrangements for the rescued Chinese
tourists, treat and cure the injured and receive family members of the
Chinese tourists involved."
Lyu said he hoped the cause of the
capsizing would be quickly ascertained and asked Somkid to have the relevant
Thai agencies closely cooperate with China on the matter.
Fatal accidents among foreign tourists
at Thai beaches are not unusual, but normally involve drownings in unsafe
swimming areas or accidents involving smaller boats.
Officials were rushing to cope with
some of the logistics of the aftermath of the sinking. At the request of
Phuket's governor, the Phuket Tourist Association was seeking 80 volunteer
Chinese language translators to assist the outgoing Chinese passengers at
the provincial airport.
Many of the victims had been on group
tours, booked in Phuket and China.
The government of the eastern Chinese
city of Haining in Zhejiang province said on its official microblog account
that it received a distress alert sent by phone text message from the head
of the Haining Haipai Furniture Co. Ltd., from Thailand on Friday morning.
It said that 37 of the furniture
company's employees and family members had traveled together to Phuket and
that on July 5 at around 5 p.m. they encountered the "biggest storm in five
years" and they sought the government's help. The group had booked their
tours to the islands online on their own, said the posting.
A Chinese tour operator based in the
central province of Hunan said on its official Sina Weibo account that three
travelers it had booked were missing.
Lazy Cat Travel said it had sent
personnel to Phuket to help out its clients, who also included 35 passengers
who had to be rescued from another boat that it had chartered that ran into
trouble on Thursday. It said that second boat had lost power after being
swamped by waves. All on board were returned safely to shore.
Rescuers fight water and oxygen levels in cave as diver dies
The body of
Saman Gunan, a former Thai navy SEAL who died during an overnight mission,
is carried during a repatriation and religious rites ceremony at Chiang Rai
Airport in northern Thailand Friday, July 6. (AP Photo)
Tassanee Vejpongsa and Kaweewit
Mae Sai (AP) — The rescuers
trying to help a youth soccer team stranded in a cave suffered a
disheartening loss Friday with the death of a former Thai Navy SEAL diving
in the flooded passageways to deliver supplies, as authorities raced against
worsening weather and lessening oxygen where the 12 boys and their coach
have been trapped for two weeks.
"We can no longer wait for all
conditions (to be ready) because circumstances are pressuring us," Thai SEAL
commander Rear Adm. Arpakorn Yookongkaew told a news conference. "We
originally thought the boys can stay safe inside the cave for quite some
time, but circumstances have changed. We have limited amount of time."
Oxygen levels are decreasing because of
the amount of workers inside the cave and workers were trying to run an
oxygen line into the chambers in addition to the oxygen canisters used by
divers, Chiang Rai province Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn had said late
A senior army commander, Maj. Gen.
Chalongchai Chaiyakam, said the most pressing mission is the oxygen line. It
is tied to a telephone line to provide a channel of communication for the
kids, who are stuck deep in the complex but are being looked after by four
SEALs, including a medic.
Authorities have been racing to pump
out water from the cave before more storms raise the water level again. At
this time though, diving is the only possible method of escape, even though
cave rescue experts warn it is extremely dangerous even for those with
The death of former Thai navy SEAL
Saman Gunan underscored those risks. The diver, the first fatality of the
rescue effort, was working in a volunteer capacity and died during an
overnight mission in which he was placing oxygen canisters along the route
divers use to reach the children, Arpakorn said.
The strategically placed canisters
allow divers to stay underwater for longer during what is about a five-hour
trip to reach the stranded team.
While underwater, the rescuer passed
out and efforts to resuscitate him failed, Arpakorn said. Some officials
said his collapse was due to his oxygen supply running out, but the cause of
his collapse was not confirmed.
"Despite this, we will continue until
we accomplish our mission," Arpakorn said.
The dramatic rescue efforts have
garnered international attention, perhaps most notably at soccer's most
widely watched event, the World Cup, being played in Russia. Players from
teams including England and Sweden have recorded good luck video messages
for the trapped boys, and FIFA has invited the 13 to the World Cup final
should they be rescued in time and are healthy enough to travel.
The effort has also brought
international assistance including U.S. military personnel and the British
cave-divers who first found the boys on Monday. The latest was Elon Musk,
the entrepreneur behind the Tesla automobile and the SpaceX rocket company,
who said he would send engineers to help. One of his enterprises is Boring
Co, which digs tunnels for advanced transport systems and has advanced
ground-penetrating radar. Musk also brainstormed on Twitter about possible
technology for a safe evacuation, suggesting that an air tunnel constructed
with soft tubing like a Bouncy Castle could provide a flexible passage out.
Army patrol plane crashes in Mae Hong Son
Mae Hong Son - Three soldiers of
the Royal Thai Army perished and one was injured, when their patrol plane
crashed in Huay Pa sub-district of Mae Hong Son province on Thursday.
Army Region 3 Commander Lt Gen Wijak
Siribansop ordered that a second patrol plane be sent up to search for the
downed aircraft immediately following the crash, with the second plane
finding it in Baan Huay Pueng or Huay Pa sub-district in Muang district of
Mae Hong Son. Personnel from Army Infantry 17 were dispatched to the crash
site, which is two kilometers from the nearest village. They found Lt
Naruphol Pukthong, Lt Waroj Plangkratok and Lt Kemrach Duangkaeo deceased at
the scene and Sgt Maj 1st Class Nutchanant Kuankaeo with broken bones but
still able to communicate. The survivor was sent to Maharaj Chiang Mai
Hospital while the three bodies are awaiting identity confirmation at the
The crash took place during a routine
patrol and was initially attributed to inclement weather. Further
investigation will take place to uncover a definite reason for the crash.
BTS offers refunds and additional trips to those affected by delays
Bangkok - Commuters affected by
long delays of the BTS Skytrain between June 25 to 27 are now eligible for
refunds or additional travel.
President of Bangkok Mass Transit
System Plc (BTS) Keeree Kanjanapas announced that single trip customers who
decided against taking the BTS due to delays in June will be allowed to use
their tickets within 14 days of their purchase or request a refund by July
All charge card users affected by the
delays can request that up to three additional trips be added to their
cards, and users of 30 day passes can request an additional six trips. The
requests can be made at BTS booths between July 7 and 31 for use within 45
days of the addition.
The BTS president voiced confidence the
compensation is merited by the long delays and noted it would cost the
operator tens of millions of baht.
A communication system imported from
abroad was due to arrive Friday and be installed in time to stabilize
services for this weekend.
49 missing as boat overturns in Andaman sea
Rescued tourists from a boat that sank are
helped onto a pier Thursday, July 5, on the island of Phuket. (Thailand
Royal Police via AP)
Phuket (AP) — A boat carrying dozens of Chinese tourists overturned
Thursday in rough seas off southern Thailand and 49 passengers were
unaccounted for, an official said.
Strong winds were still blowing as
searchers looked for the missing people off the tourist island of Phuket in
the Andaman Sea.
Phuket Gov. Norraphat Plodthong said 48
passengers were rescued from the boat, with 49 unaccounted for.
Police previously said 90 people had
been rescued from the boat and just seven were missing. The reason for the
discrepancy was not clear.
Another boat also overturned off Phuket
on Thursday. Officials said the 39 Chinese and European tourists who were
forced to abandon that boat were rescued and have returned to land.
Local media showed photos of rescued
people in large rubber life rafts at sea, with fishing boats and churning
water in the background. The images also showed survivors being lifted from
the rafts and sitting in life jackets amid ropes on the deck of what appears
to be a fishing trawler.
Phuket officials had earlier issued a
warning of severe weather until Tuesday, including heavy rain and winds.
"All agencies are co-operating in their
search at this time," Norraphat said. "We have given warnings ... but the
winds are strong."
He said officials would consider
whether to ban boats from going to sea during strong winds.
A late report from the Thai PBS
television station said the body of a man wearing a life jacket from the
larger vessel had been recovered.
Authorities described him as Chinese
and 35-40 years of age. They said they don't know the nationalities of the
other missing people, but those who had been rescued were mostly Chinese on
The station also reported that 12 boats
with 263 passengers in all had been forced by the weather to stay docked at
Racha island, a popular diving spot about an hour's boat ride from Phuket.
They said they were providing food,
shelter and water to the people, and if the weather did not clear, larger
boats belonging to the navy would be sent to retrieve them.
Rescuers race to drain water inside cave before rains
International rescuers prepare to enter the cave
where the young soccer team and their coach are trapped by flood waters,
Thursday, July 5, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Mae Sai (AP) — With more rain
coming, rescuers are racing to pump out water from the flooded cave before
they can extract 12 boys and their soccer coach with minimum risk, officials
A firefighter who has been working on
draining the water said parts of a passage leading to the chamber where the
group was found Monday was still flooded to its ceiling, making diving the
only way out.
"What we worry most is the weather,"
Chiang Rai provincial Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn told reporters. "We can't
risk having the flood back into the cave."
The boys, although skinny, have been
described as in good health. Authorities have said the soccer players are
being looked after by Thai navy SEALs, including medics, staying with them
inside the cave.
Narongsak said he asked the SEALs in
charge of extraction plans to estimate what sort of a risk would be involved
to take them out and "what kind of readiness we can have today and decide if
we can take that chance." He said the 13 may not be extracted at the same
time, depending on their condition. They've practiced wearing diving masks
and breathing, in preparation for the possibility they may have to dive.
"This morning, I have asked for 13 sets
of (diving) equipment to be prepared and checked the equipment lists and
place them inside (the cave) in case we have to bring them out in this
condition with less than 100 percent readiness," he said.
Officials prefer to get the boys out as
soon as possible because heavy rain expected by Saturday almost surely will
raise water levels again in the cave, making passage in some areas even more
difficult, if not impossible.
They are hoping that an upgraded
draining effort can lower the water in an area where it is still at or near
the ceiling. The idea is to get some headroom so the boys would not be
reliant on scuba apparatus for a long stretch and could keep their heads
The navy has released videos of the
boys, showing them smiling and interacting with the personnel sent into the
cave to bring supplies, treat their injuries and keep them company.
One Thai navy SEAL team member who
spent time with the boys said the young soccer players "were always asking
about the World Cup." ''I told them that all the big teams had gone home,"
the navy SEAL member said.
Suvarnabhumi Airport denies charging for use of Premium Lanes
Bangkok - Executives of
Suvarnabumi Airport have assured the public that no special payments have
been demanded for Premium Lane passes, from those who want to bypass long
Deputy Director of Suvarnabhumi
Airport, Maj Kamol Wongsomboon, who is currently acting director of the
airport on behalf of Airports of Thailand (AoT), said no extra payments have
been requested for Premium Lane passes, explaining that AoT is only
responsible for inspecting the sales, which are handled by Airline Operators
Committee (AOC). He indicated that all travelers with proper passports can
use the Premium Lane, which is available in zones 2 and 3 on the fourth
floor of the passenger terminal.
Maj Kamol acknowledged that travelers
are sometimes subjected to long lines as Suvarnabhumi Airport is currently
only able to handle 45 million passengers a year, despite 60 million
arriving on average. More officials and facilities have been added to
alleviate the situation.
Premium Lanes were created under an
agreement between AOC and Immigration Police in line with tourism policy.
First and business class passengers are provided with access to the lanes
when traveling out of Thailand. AOC produces and manages the sale of Premium
Rice Department prepares assistance for farms flooded in Luang Cave rescue operation
Chiang Rai - The Department of
Rice has prepared a rehabilitation plan for farms impacted by the drainage
of Luang Cave to rescue a local boys' football team that became trapped on
Deputy Director-General of the
Department of Rice, Suwat Jiarakongmun, said a disaster monitoring center of
the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has recorded the damage
sustained by farms affected by the partial drainage of the cave, to save the
lives of the stranded Moo Pa Academy youth football team within. The farms
are located in three sub-districts of Mae Sai district in Chiang Rai and are
owned by over 100 farmers. An estimated 1,300 rai of land has been badly
affected, with government agents now providing guidance to farmers on
technological tools they can employ once waters subside. The district
agriculture office is monitoring the situation closely and will survey
Several strains of rice have been
prepared for the benefit of the affected farmers so that they may replace
their lost crops. Growers are being advised to wait for rains to cleanse
their land once waters drain out, and to aerate fields before planting new
Officials say boys may be taken out of cave in stages
July 3 photo, one of the young boys smiles as Thai Navy SEAL medics help the
children inside the cave in Mae Sai, northern Thailand. (Royal Thai Navy
Facebook Page via AP)
Mae Sai (AP) — An official
overseeing the rescue operation of a soccer team trapped in a flooded cave
said the 12 boys and their coach may not all be extracted at the same time
depending on their health.
Chiang Rai provincial Gov. Narongsak
Osatanakorn said Wednesday that "all 13 may not come out at the same time.
If the condition is right and if that person is ready 100 percent, he can
come out." He said authorities will evaluate their readiness each day and if
there is any risk will not proceed.
The teammates and their coach were seen
in the latest video sitting with Thai navy SEALs in the dark cave, their
skinny faces illuminated by a flashlight. The boys, many wrapped in foil
warming blankets, take turns introducing themselves, pressing their hands
together in a traditional Thai greeting and saying their names and that they
Narongsak said that the boys have been
practicing wearing diving masks and breathing, but he doesn't believe they
have attempted any practice dives.
Authorities said the boys, who had also
been shown Tuesday in a video shot by the British diver who discovered them,
were being looked after by seven members of the Thai navy SEALs, including
medics, who were staying with them inside the cave. They were mostly in
stable condition and have received high-protein drinks.
In all of the videos, the boys appeared
in good spirits. In the most recent video, a navy SEAL is shown treating
minor cuts on the feet and legs of the boys with antibiotic ointment.
Several of the boys are seen smiling as they interact with the navy SEAL,
who cracks jokes.
Seeing the boys has boosted the mood of
their family members, and officials are working to install an internet cable
to the cave so that parents can talk to their children.
Kian Kamluang, whose 16-year-old son,
Pornchai, is in the cave, said she had thought there was a 50 percent chance
that her son would be found.
"It's like he has been given a new
life," she said, adding that she'll never let her son go into a cave or near
Those waiting for the boys to come out
included a group of students who are friends with some of the boys trapped
inside, who sang a song in front of the entrance to show their support.
Several religious figures have also
shown up, the most popular being a famous Buddhist monk, Kruba Boonchum, who
when he first visited the scene had predicted that the boys would be found
He returned Wednesday to offer prayers
for their safe rescue, and as measure of the respect in which he was held,
was allowed access to the cave, which is generally off-limits to outsiders.
SEAL commander Rear Adm. Arpakorn
Yookongkaew said that there was no rush to bring the group out of the cave,
since they're safe where they are. The current flooding situation means the
boys would have to dive, which rescue experts have said could be extremely
While efforts to pump out floodwaters
are continuing, some officials have indicated that heavy rains forecast for
this weekend could force them to decide the boys should swim and dive out
using the same complicated route of narrow passageways through which their
Authorities said they were still
exploring other options, such as scouring the mountainside for other ways
into the cave and finding faster ways to pump water from the cave.
Cave rescue experts have said it could
be safest to simply supply the boys where they are for now, and wait for the
water to go down. That could take months, however, given that Thailand's
rainy season typically lasts through October.
Experienced divers are wary of taking
out the boys through the dark and dangerous waters still in the cave,
especially since they are untrained.
"We are talking kilometers of transport
under the water with zero visibility," said Claus Rasmusen, a certified cave
diving instructor based in Thailand who has been helping Thai SEAL team with
logistics. "It's difficult."
He said it was awkward, but possible,
to teach them minimal skills.
"Nobody will teach anyone a full cave
course, but trying to get them comfortable with masks, with the breathing,
(is) completely different," he said. "Creating an environment that can make
them safely get away, that's feasible."
Public advised against donating to cave rescue mission
Chiang Rai - Chiang Rai Governor
Narongsak Osotthanakorn has urged people not to make contributions to cave
rescue mission because there are already enough supplies of food and
essential items to support the rescue of 12 boys and their football coach.
In his capacity as commander of the
Command Centre for the People Missing at Tham Luang Khun Nam Nang Non Cave,
Narongsak said the rescue team has been given continuous support by His
Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn and other members of the Royal Family.
They have given items, tools and
manpower needed to continue the rescue effort. Four canteens, courtesy of
His Majesty the King, have also been set up around the cave to provide hot
meals to everyone.
Those taking part in the rescue effort
have expressed their gratitude towards His Majesty the King and the Thai
Royal Family for their gracious contributions. The governor further stated
that anyone found pleading for donations will be prosecuted under the law.
Fluctuations in the Baht have little impact on economy
Bangkok - The Bank of Thailand
(BoT) is showing no concerns over the fluctuations of the Thai Baht as
Thailand holds sufficient foreign reserves to safeguard the economy against
the occasional outflow of foreign capital.
Even though the Thai Baht has been
fluctuating due to monetary policy changes in the UK, the United States and
Europe, there has been no indication from the BoT that there is a
significant impact on the economy. Both private and public debt remains low
despite the fluctuations.
Meanwhile, the Monetary Policy
Committee has revised this year’s economic growth up from 4.1% to 4.4% given
tourism and export growth. To further support the forecast, the Cabinet has
also agreed to maintain the VAT rate at 7%.
The Ministry of Commerce has also
forecast that the economy in the second half of this year will improve.
Prices of cassava and corn feed will continue to rise although prices of
certain farm goods remain low.
Government campaigns for alcohol break during Buddhist Lent
Bangkok - The government has
called on people to refrain from drinking alcohol during the three-month
Before the cabinet meeting started on
Tuesday (July 3) at Government House, Bangkok, the Deputy Prime Minister,
Gen. Chatchai Sarikulya, the Public Health Minister, Dr. Piyasakol
Sakolsatayadorn, the Director-General of the Department of Disease Control,
Dr. Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai, and the Manager of ThaiHealth, Dr.
Supreeda Adulyanon, led a team of staff to meet the Prime Minister, Gen.
Prayut Chan-o-cha, to present a campaign to promote alcohol abstinence
during the Buddhist Lent this year.
Dr. Piyasakol said a cabinet resolution
in 2008 made Buddhist Lent Day a national no-alcohol day. He said alcohol
abstinence is considered a worthy act, as it keeps people in good health and
complies with the Buddhist principle.
The Prime Minister urged members of the
public to join this alcohol-free campaign throughout the Lent period.
Forecast of heavy rain could complicate cave rescue
Thai rescue teams walk inside the cave complex
where 12 boys and their soccer coach were found Monday, July 2 in Mae Sai,
Chiang Rai province. (Tham Luang Rescue Operation Center via AP)
Mae Sai (AP) — Heavy rains
forecast for northern Thailand could worsen flooding in the cave where 12
boys and their soccer coach are waiting to be extracted by rescuers,
possibly forcing authorities to have them swim out through a narrow,
underwater passage in the cavern, a top official said Tuesday.
The 13, who disappeared when flooding
trapped them in the cave they were exploring on June 23 after a soccer game,
were found by rescue divers late Monday night in the cavern in northern
Chiang Rai province during a desperate search. The effort drew international
help and has riveted Thailand.
The boys, aged 11-16, and their
25-year-old coach were described as healthy and being looked after by seven
members of the Thai navy SEALs, including medics, who were staying with them
inside the cave. They were mostly in stable condition and have received
While efforts to pump out floodwaters
are continuing, it's clear that some areas of the sprawling cavern cannot be
drained, said Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda. In order to get them out
ahead of the bad weather forecast for later in the week, they might need to
use diving gear while being guided by professional divers, he said.
Anupong said the boys would be brought
out via the same complicated route through which their rescuers entered, and
he conceded that if something went awry, it could be disastrous.
"Diving is not easy. For people who
have never done it, it will be difficult, unlike diving in a swimming pool,
because the cave's features have small channels," he said. "If something
happens midway, it could be life-threatening."
Video released by the Thai navy showed
the boys in their soccer uniforms sitting in a dry area inside the Tham
Luang Nang Non cave above the water as a light held by a rescuer was shone
on their faces.
Cave rescue experts have said it could
be safer to simply supply them where they are for now, rather than trying to
have the boys dive out. That could take months, however, given that
Thailand's rainy season typically lasts through October.
SEAL commander Rear Adm. Arpakorn
Yookongkaew said there was no rush to bring them out, since they're safe
where they are.
A doctor and a nurse were with them in
"We have given the boys food, starting
from easily digested and high-powered food with enough minerals," Arpakorn
told a news conference.
Having them dive out of the cave was
one of several options being considered, "but if we are using this plan, we
have to be certain that it will work and have to have a drill to make sure
that it's 100 percent safe," he said.
Chiang Rai provincial Gov. Narongsak
Osatanakorn said the health of the boys and coach were checked using a field
assessment in which red is critical condition, yellow is serious and green
"We found that most of the boys are in
green condition," he said. "Maybe some of the boys have injuries or light
injuries and would be categorized as yellow condition. But no one is in red
Relatives keeping vigil at the mouth of
the cave since the ordeal began rejoiced at the news that their boys and
their coach had been found.
"I want to give him a hug. I miss him
very much," said Tham Chanthawong, an aunt of the coach. "In these 10 days,
how many million seconds have there been? I've missed him every second."
Cave diver Ben Reymenants, part of the
team assisting the rescue effort, told NBC's "Today" show that he was "very
surprised obviously that they are all alive and actually mentally also
While they appear responsive, "they are
very weak and very skinny," he added.
Reymenants said the easiest option
would be to "keep pumping the water out of the cave. They need another 3 or
4 feet so they can literally float them out with life jackets."
"But time is not on their side," he
noted, because of the heavy rain forecast.
He added that two Thai navy doctors
have volunteered to stay with them for months, if needed.
The British Cave Rescue Council, which
has members taking part in the operation, said in a statement that "although
water levels have dropped, the diving conditions remain difficult and any
attempt to dive the boys and their coach out will not be taken lightly
because there are significant technical challenges and risks to consider."
Joining the British are other experts
from around the world and teams from the U.S., Australia, China and
Authorities said efforts would continue
outside the cave, where teams have been scouring the mountainside for other
entrances to the caverns. Several fissures have been found and teams have
explored some, although so far, none has led to the trapped boys.
British divers bring experience to cave rescue drama
divers Richard Stanton, left, and John Volanthen arrive in Mae Sai, Chiang
Rai province, in northern Thailand, Tuesday, July 3. (AP Photo)
London (AP) — When authorities
were assembling a group of rescuers to search for the soccer team lost in a
flooded cave, one of their first calls went to a retired firefighter and an
IT consultant in England.
Rick Stanton and John Volanthen were
the first to reach the 12 boys and their coach inside the Luang Nang Non
Cave on Monday.
It is their voices that can be heard
talking to the boys and giving them calm reassurance in a dramatic video
released by the Thai navy. They are working with Thai navy SEALs, who are
leading the rescue operation.
Stanton, the retired firefighter from
Coventry, and Volanthen, who does IT consulting work in Bristol, have years
of experience in cave rescues and have helped map the Luang Nang Non Cave.
"Brits are probably one of the best
cave-diving teams," said Dinko Novosel, head of the European Cave Rescue
Commission, even before the search mission proved successful.
Chris Jewell, a member of the British
Cave Rescue Council, confirmed that the divers on the video were Stanton and
It's not the first time they have lent
their expertise to an international rescue effort.
Stanton, who was made a Member of the
Order of the British Empire, or MBE, in 2012, previously described his most
memorable lifesaving effort as the 2004 rescue of six soldiers trapped by
rising floodwaters in Mexico.
"They were trapped for nine days, and
we had to teach a few of them to dive through a considerable length of
passage to get them out," Stanton told the Coventry Telegraph
newspaper in 2012. "It took about nine hours to get them all out."
Stanton also tried to rescue French
cave explorer Eric Establie in 2010. Establie's remains were discovered in
southern France after a dramatic eight-day operation.
Alex Daw, a West Midlands Fire Service
watch commander who supervised Stanton for six years, said his experience as
a firefighter serves him well. Besides that, Stanton also is known as a
tinkerer — a technician always making sure his equipment will help him go
"farther, further under water, in the dark."
"If the kids have got someone there
like him, they're safe," Daw said without hesitation. "He's cool, calm and
Volanthen was Stanton's partner on the
French rescue attempt.
Volanthen told the Sunday Times
in 2013 that cave diving is not the pursuit of those who crave thrills.
"The flight response now isn't always
appropriate," he said. "Panic and adrenaline are great in certain
situations, but not in cave-diving. The last thing you want is any
Both men are members of the South and
Mid Wales Cave Rescue team. A third Briton, Robert Harper, is working with
them in Thailand after authorities here contacted the British Cave Rescue
Council for help when the boys disappeared June 23.
The British divers left London on June
26 with special rescue equipment, including radios designed to work in
British cavers have helped survey and
catalog many caves in Thailand because there are only a few people with such
experience in the country, the council said in a statement last week.
"Many British cavers, including
specialist cave divers, active on such expeditions, also serve as volunteers
in cave rescue teams across Britain and Ireland and bring with them valuable
knowledge of the layout of overseas cave systems," the council said.
The euphoria of finding the soccer team
and their coach alive has quickly turned to the sober reality of how to
extract them from the cave. Heavy rains are forecast, and that could worsen
the flooding in the cavern, possibly forcing authorities to have them swim
out through a narrow, underwater passage.
Gary Mitchell, the assistant vice
chairman of the British Cave Rescue Council, said that helping the boys dive
out could take time, particularly since they are assumed to have no diving
experience and because they will be in a weakened state.
"They may start to dive them out in
small batches into small, into other chambers, other pockets of air, and do
that over a staggered period of time," he told the Associated Press.
"Obviously, the biggest risk really is current rainfall. If it keeps raining
or starts to rain and water levels rise then there's a bit more immediacy
Drilling an opening would be a problem
because of the need for determining with pinpoint accuracy where they are
inside the cave. While stressing that the Thai military is in charge,
Mitchell believes they are working under the assumption that the group is
about 800 meters to a kilometer below the surface — meaning the need to
drill through solid rock.
"Drilling from the top of a jungle
mountain ridge is really tricky," he said.
Rescuers also have been searching for a
fissure that might lead to a shaft that could be a kind of "back door" to
where the soccer team is sheltered. So far, they have not found one that
goes far enough.
For Stanton, such curiosity about
finding the right path in a cave seems to motivate him.
He once told the online site Divernet:
"I'm only interested in the cave, where it's going and how it ends. I
suppose that's what motivates me - I don't know why, but that's it."
Second Govt-political parties meeting scheduled for September
Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha.
Bangkok - The government will
meet political parties again in September, assuring all sides of its
intention to consider all proposals in regard to pre- and post-election
According to Prime Minister Gen Prayut
Chan-o-cha, his administration is open to suggestions and has been accepting
feedback from all sectors of society since it took office in 2014.
He said that the much-expected general
election will be held in the most transparent manner to ensure fairness and
a smooth transition.
Addressing concerns about prerequisite
procedures leading up to the election, Gen Prayut said political parties
will be given enough time for their election campaigns and other
administrative tasks, while citing the need to maintain law and order as the
main reason for keeping the political ban in place.
When asked if he wanted to continue his
political career after the election, Gen Prayut said he hasn’t thought about
it and is focused on his duties as prime minister for the time being.
NBTC lowers asking price in 1800 MHz auction
Bangkok - Thailand's National
Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission (NBTC) has decided to change
certain requirements for its auctions to make the bidding more appealing to
Regarding the upcoming 1800 MHz
auction, the NBTC committee has decided to issue nine 5 MHz licenses,
instead of the fifteen it previously offered to bidders, in order to lower
the asking price to 12.4 billion baht.
Last month’s 1800 MHz auction had to be
canceled because the 3 major phone operators, AIS, True and Dtac, did not
participate. The NBTC is positive phone service operators will take part in
the new auction, expected to be held on Sunday, August 19.
Additionally, the 900 MHz bidding
process will be held on Saturday of the same weekend. The NBTC will offer 5
MHz licenses to bidders but at a starting price of 35.9 billion baht. Both
the 1800 and 900 MHz frequency bands can be used by 4G and 5G networks.
Rescuers find missing boys and coach alive in cave
In this grab taken from video provided by the
Thai Navy Seals, the 12 boys and their soccer coach are found in the flooded
cave, Monday, July 2, some 10 days after they disappeared and touched off a
desperate search that drew international help and captivated the nation.
(Thai Navy Seal via AP)
Family members smile after hearing the news that
the missing boys and their soccer coach have been found, in Mae Sai, Chiang
Rai province, Monday, July 2. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Mae Sai (AP) — Rescuers found
all 12 boys and their soccer coach alive deep inside the partially flooded
cave in northern Thailand late Monday, more than a week after they
disappeared and touched off a desperate search that drew international help
and captivated the nation.
Video released early Tuesday by the
Thai navy showed the boys in their soccer uniforms sitting on a dry area
inside the cave above the water as a spotlight, apparently from a rescuer,
illuminated their faces.
Chiang Rai provincial Gov. Narongsak
Osatanakorn said the 13 were in the process of being rescued, but he
cautioned that they were not out of danger yet.
"We found them safe. But the operation
isn't over," he said in comments broadcast nationwide, referring to the
complicated process of extricating them.
Family members of the missing hugged
each other as they cheered the news.
Aisha Wiboonrungrueng, the mother of
11-year-old Chanin Wiboonrungrueng, smiled and hugged her family as news of
their discovery spread. She said she would cook her son a fried omelet, his
favorite food, when he returns home.
Rescue divers had spent much of Monday
making preparations for a final push to locate the lost soccer players, aged
11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach. They disappeared when flooding
trapped them after entering the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai on
Narongsak said the divers located the
missing about 300-400 meters past a section of the cave that was on higher
ground and was thought to be where the team members and their coach may have
"When the medics have evaluated the
kids to see if their health is in good condition, we will care for them
until they have enough strength to move by themselves, and then we will
evaluate the situation on bringing them out again later," Narongsak said.
In the 5-minute navy video, the boys
are quiet as they sit on their haunches, legs bent in front of them. They
are clad in the uniforms they apparently were wearing on the morning they
disappeared in the cave.
"You are very strong," one of the
rescuers says to them in English. One of them asks what day it is, and the
rescuer responds, "Monday. Monday. You have been here — 10 days.
One of the boys, noticing the camera
and hearing words they don't immediately understand, says in Thai, "Oh, they
want to take a picture; tell him we're hungry. I haven't had anything to
Then the boy breaks into simple
English, saying, "Eat, eat, eat," to which another voice responds in Thai
that he already told that to the rescuer.
Anmar Mirza, a leading American cave
rescue expert, said many challenges remain for the rescuers. He said the
primary decision is whether to try to evacuate the boys and their coach or
to supply them in place.
"Supplying them on site may face
challenges depending on how difficult the dives are," Mirza, coordinator of
the U.S. National Cave Rescue Commission, said in an email. "Trying to take
non-divers through a cave is one of the most dangerous situations possible,
even if the dives are relatively easy. That also begets the question: If the
dives are difficult then supply will be difficult, but the risk of trying to
dive them out is also exponentially greater."
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha
thanked the international experts and rescuers who helped locate the missing
for their "tremendous efforts."
"The Royal Thai Government and the Thai
people are grateful for this support and cooperation, and we all wish the
team a safe and speedy recovery," Prayuth's office said in a statement.
Thai navy SEAL divers and rescue
workers from other countries had made initial progress through a narrow
passageway early Monday after passing through a key chamber on Sunday whose
high, murky waters had previously blocked their progress.
Gov. Narongsak had said earlier the
passageway goes upward in some places and downward in others and is very
narrow, making it difficult for divers and their gear to fit through.
Divers had been stymied repeatedly by
rising water that forced them to withdraw for safety reasons. When water
levels fell Sunday, the divers went forward with a more methodical approach,
deploying a rope line and extra oxygen supplies along the way.
The SEALs' Facebook page said that
since Sunday night, the divers had reached a bend where the kilometer-long
passage splits in two directions. The divers were aiming for a sandy chamber
on higher ground in the cave.
Narongsak explained early Monday that
fixing rope lines and deploying oxygen tanks along their route will allow
the divers to operate.
In addition to the divers, teams have
been working to pump out water as well as divert groundwater. Other efforts
have focused on finding shafts on the mountainside that might serve as a
back door to the blocked-off areas.
Teams have been combing the
mountainside looking for fissure that might lead to such shafts. Several
have been found and explorers have been able to descend into some.
Experts in cave rescues from around the
world had gathered at the site. An official Australian group has followed a
U.S. military team, British cave experts, Chinese lifesaving responders and
several other volunteer groups from various countries.
"These are challenging conditions and
there's a lot of consideration for safety as well. The environment outside
is contributing to the environment inside," said U.S. Air Force Capt.
Jessica Tait, part of a 30-member U.S. military team assisting in the
search, referring to the rain that has been flooding the cave. "So I'd say,
yeah, it's an accurate statement that it's challenging."
Fire breaks out at major seafood company
Samut Sakhon - A fire broke out at Thai Royal
Frozen Food Co Ltd in Samut Sakhon province early on Monday. No deaths or
injuries were initially reported.
The fire started at a building where a seafood-frying
station is located. Samut Sakhon Governor Prapas Malakarn was at the scene
to oversee the firefighting operation himself. Despite 20 fire trucks and a
continuous effort to douse the inferno, the flames were difficult to control
because of cooking oil and foam containers that were kept inside the
The damage has been estimated at more than 200 million
The company is said to be one of the major seafood
exporters in Thailand.
Office of Ombudsman addresses Airport Rail Link issues
Bangkok - The Office of the
Ombudsman is scheduled to hold a meeting to ensure proper servicing of
Bangkok’s Airport Rail Link, following issues of delays and passenger
Deputy Secretary-General Sa-ngad
Pattawee led a team to inspect the operations of the commuter rail system,
in response to complaints of insufficient carriage capacity during peak
Sa-ngad revealed that incomplete
maintenance, compounded by only six to seven out of the nine trains being
operational, have made it difficult to accommodate the large number of
commuters. He said his office will meet with the State Railway of Thailand
and the Klongton Service Center to discuss proposals to be made to the
Govt holds forum to promote energy stability
Bangkok - The National Research
Council of Thailand has held a forum to promote concerted efforts in energy
research with commercial applications.
Deputy Prime Minister ACM Prajin
Juntong spoke at the event, “CEO Forum: Electricity R&I Challenge in the
21st Century,” saying energy stability is one of the government’s main
strategies for boosting economic prosperity. He asserted that energy
security supports a competitive, value-added economy.
The government’s strategy aims to
encourage the production and service sectors to add value through research
and innovation, in order to boost the sectors’ growth rates from the current
average of 5% per year. It also focuses on ensuring energy security by using
technologies that are domestically available to produce a variety of energy
sources to meet demand, reducing the Kingdom’s reliance on imports and
becoming more environmentally friendly.
The forum also showcases innovations
such as a reversible wind turbine, a reflector to illuminate roads, and
equipment for safely repairing high-voltage power lines, without having to
turn off the power supply.
Divers with extra supplies advance in flooded cave passageway
stands in front of the entrance to the flooded cave complex in Mae Sai,
Chiang Rai province, Sunday, July 1. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Mae Sai (AP) — Rescue divers are
advancing in the main passageway inside the flooded cave in northern
Thailand where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been missing more than a
Thai navy SEALs said in a Facebook post
early Monday that divers since Sunday night had reached a bend where the
kilometer-long passage splits in two directions.
The boys, aged 11 to 16, and their
25-year-old coach entered Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai province on
June 23. Heavy rains that flooded key passages are believed to have trapped
the soccer players and have thwarted their rescue.
The divers, supplied with rope and
extra oxygen, are aiming for a sandy chamber on higher ground in the cave,
where they hope the 13 were able to stay dry.
Rabies vaccines administered to 7 million pets and stray animals
Bangkok - More than seven
million domestic and stray animals have received rabies vaccines since
October 2017, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives.
The Department of Livestock Development
reports that a total of 7.042 million dogs and cats have received the
vaccine and nearly 250,000 of them have been neutered.
In Thailand, there are about 10 million
cats and dogs, of which 910,000 are registered.
Between January 1st and June 27th,
2018, fifty provinces were declared rabies-hit zones. As of July 1st, 33
provinces including Bangkok remain under rabies watch.
Rabies is a preventable viral disease
affecting mammals, most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid
animal. The early symptoms of rabies in people are similar to that of many
other illnesses, including fever, headaches, and general weakness or
discomfort. As the disease progresses, more specific symptoms appear and may
include insomnia, anxiety, confusion, slight or partial paralysis,
excitation, hallucinations, agitation, hypersalivation, difficulty
swallowing, and hydrophobia. Death usually occurs within days of the onset
of these symptoms.
90% of foreign workers registered with Ministry of Labor
Bangkok - More than 1.2 million
foreign workers registered with the Ministry of Labor before the
registration process was closed on 30th June. Those who failed to register
or update their records are now unable to work in Thailand.
Minister of Labor, Pol. Gen. Adul
Saengsingkaew on Sunday summarized the registrations and requests from
foreigners seeking permission to work in Thailand, saying 90% of them had
registered with the ministry between 16th January and 30th June. Most of
them were from Myanmar, followed by Cambodia and Lao, said the minister.
The minister thanked the governments of
the three countries for their cooperation with Thailand in identifying the
nationality of the workers. From 1st July 2018 onwards, the ministry will
strictly inspect and arrest illegal foreign workers who will face a fine of
5,000 - 50,000 baht. They will also be deported and banned from working in
Thailand for two years from the day that the punishment is imposed.
Employers who hire illegal foreign
workers are subject to a fine of 10,000 - 100,000 baht per illegal foreign
worker. Repeated offences are subject to imprisonment of up to one year or a
fine of 50,000 - 200,000 baht and a ban on them hiring foreign workers for
Kratom use spreads in Phuket
Governor of Phuket, Sanit Sriwihokb.
Phuket - Kratom has become the
most widely available illegal narcotic in Phuket despite efforts to suppress
drug abuse, says an official.
The Vice Governor of Phuket, Sanit
Sriwihok, said authorities have been working to tackle drug abuse on the
island but there continues to be an increase in drug use, with Kratom now
the most popular, followed by Ya Ba pills, crystal meth, and cannabis.
He said the province is now on high
alert against the spread of heroin as there have been heroin-related arrests
every month, including five cases in May 2018.
The vice governor added that officials
from all related agencies have been instructed to be on high alert and
implement drug prevention and suppression measures, as well as block the
smuggling of drugs onto the island by land, sea, or air. This includes the
prevention of drug smuggling in ordinary postal packages sent via private
Update June 30 -
July 1 , 2018
In song and prayer, Thais show solidarity with missing boys
image from video made available on Friday, June 29, a group of young
children sit around candles and play a song at a school in Buriram, eastern
Thailand, in support for the missing soccer team and their coach in a
flooded cave in the north. (Lek Nai Tung Kwang school via AP)
Kaweewit Kaewjinda and Tassanee
Mae Sai (AP) — It's a simple
melody sung to the plucking of acoustic guitars by schoolchildren sitting
around candles: "I beg the skies to show mercy and empathy/ My brothers are
in Tham Luang Khun Nang Non/ Let them pass this danger, I beg."
The song is dedicated to events
unfolding in a flooded mountain cave in northern Thailand, where 12 boys
aged 11-16 and their soccer coach disappeared a week ago. It was written and
performed by students at Lek Nai Tung Kwang school in Buriram province.
makes her way down muddy steps past water pump hoses at the entrance to a
cave complex where it's believed that 12 soccer team members and their coach
went missing, Friday, June 29, 2018, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in
northern Thailand. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
The music video has played on national
newscasts during round-the-clock coverage of the search and rescue operation
at the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in far northern Chiang Rai province. It is
part of an outpouring of hope, empathy and concern across nation for the
boys, their families and the army of people working to bring them home.
"We're worried. Everybody wants to hear
good news," said Keeta Wariburee, a teacher at the school that produced the
video. "We want to help them, but if we went up there we'd probably just get
in the way. So we're doing what we can by sending encouragement."
carry a pump to help drain the rising flood water in a cave where 12 boys
and their soccer coach have been missing in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province,
northern Thailand, Friday, June 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Rescuers including elite Thai navy
divers, a U.S. military team and British cave experts have been frustrated
by incessant rain that has flooded the cave and made locating the boys more
difficult. Despite efforts to drain the water, muddy floodwaters reached
near the entrance of the cave while rescuers kept trying to find hidden
shafts in the green mountainside to access the cavern. In a desperate move,
officials dropped into the shafts care packages stuffed with food,
beverages, a phone, a flashlight, candles, a lighter and a map of the cave.
Lamduan Mayula traveled to the cave
from Payao province, where she owns a gift shop and also volunteers as a
rescue worker. She and her friends have set up a kitchen and are handing out
food to hungry workers.
soldiers searching for the missing children and their coach march out of the
Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern
Thailand on Friday, June 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
"I just feel like I have to do
something. I can't be sitting at home and watching the news," she said. "And
I will stay here until we and the boys and their coach can all go home
In signs of solidarity with the
missing, students around Thailand have been organizing mass prayers and
other events. They showed solidarity by sitting in rows to form the number
13 — the number of the missing. Some folded origami paper cranes marked with
messages of support.
Muangthong United, one of the nation’s
largest and most popular soccer teams, made a similar gesture, releasing a
video in which players and staff stand in the middle of their stadium,
holding hands in a circle around soccer balls forming the number 13.
personnel walk out of the entrance to a cave complex where it's believed
that 12 soccer team members and their coach went missing, Thursday, June 28,
2018, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand. A U.S. military
team and British cave experts joined the rescue effort for 12 boys and their
soccer coach missing for five days inside the cave being flooded by
near-constant rains. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
In a post on his Facebook page this
April, Eakapol Chantawong, the missing coach of the boys' Wild Boars soccer
team, checked in at the stadium and wrote: "One day I have to bring my young
A number of hashtags have taken off on
social media, including ones that translate as "13 lives must survive,"
''Sending encouragement to Tham Luang" and "Strangers whose faces we most
want to see."
pray for missing young soccer team members and their coach in a cave during
a rescue operation, Thursday, June 28, 2018, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai
province, northern Thailand. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Emotional drawings and pictures have
been making the rounds as well. One shows rescuers in a dark cave with "13
Hope Don't Give Up" written on their oxygen tanks. Another displays the
silhouettes of 12 boys and a man against the stalactites of a cave with the
words: "Stay strong. We are coming." Another features the team riding on a
large wild boar and says: "Wild Boars keep fighting."
hold fishing nets, as a symbol to fish out lost spirits inside cave, as a
group of locals and relatives perform a ritual calling for those are missing
at the entrance of the cave, Tuesday, June 26, 2018, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai
province, northern Thailand. Electricians are extending a power line into a
flooded cave in northern Thailand to help the search and rescue efforts for
12 boys and their soccer coach stranded three nights in the sprawling
caverns and cut off by rising water. (AP Photo/Tassanee Vejpongsa)
Keeta, the teacher, said the popularity
of his students' song was a sign of the nation's common purpose.
"It reveals one thing, which is Thai
society, in tough times, we never abandon each other," he said. "But it
would be even better if the kids are found."
Or as his students' song ends: "Let the
skies show us the path and clear up/ Let this group of friends pass this
danger/ To quickly go home for safety to all."
Ice factory in Nan faces closure order after ammonia leaks
Nan - An ice factory in the
northern province of Nan has been ordered to close for 30 days, following
ammonia leaks that have posed a danger to its workers and nearby residents.
Officials have rushed to the factory in
Du Tai subdistrict to bring the situation under control. Despite their
efforts, the pungent gas has spread extensively, leading to factory
employees and villagers, including a two-month old baby, being taken to
hospital with chest pains and breathing difficulties. Ammonia leaks have
also caused the deaths of trees, canal fish and village pets in a 100-meter
A 66-year-old villager said more than
60 households have been affected by the incident and many of them have
suffered nausea, and skin and eye irritations. She disclosed the factory was
also responsible for ammonia leaks in 2013, adding that it often discharged
untreated water and dumped waste into the community sewers at night.
Inspections by military officers and
personnel from the provincial offices of Industry, Public Health, Natural
Resources and the Environment, and Disaster Prevention and Mitigation found
that the ammonia pipe of the ice making system had cracked, causing the gas
to leak. The ammonia dilution process is ongoing. The factory has been told
to address the problems during the 30-day operation suspension order.
AOT to expand airport passenger and cargo capacities
AOT President Nitinai Sirismatthakarn.
Bangkok - State-run Airports of
Thailand (AOT) Public Company Limited is preparing to expand cargo capacity
at six airports to accommodate the growing e-commerce sector and enable
Thailand to be a regional hub for air transportation.
AOT President Nitinai Sirismatthakarn
said that during the first eight months of fiscal year 2018 between October
2017 and May this year, AOT airports handled over 580,000 flights, an
increase of 6.17%. The number consists of over 300,000 international
flights, an increase on the same period last year of 12.63%, and over
270,000 domestic flights, increasing slightly by 0.24%. The flights serviced
up to 95 million passengers, an increase of almost 10%. Business profits in
the first six months rose for a fourth consecutive year to 13.4 billion
Nitinai added that the second phase
expansion project at Suvarnabhumi International Airport will open its
initial terminal by 2020. The second terminal, which will accommodate an
additional 30 million passengers per year, will begin construction next year
and be completed in 2021.
Meanwhile, the construction of a
multi-purpose building for international travelers at Don Muang Airport is
expected to be completed in the next eight months. AOT’s expansion plans for
its six airports will enable it to accommodate up to 185 million passengers
in 2022, from the current 100 million.
In addition, AOT plans on expanding its
air cargo business to accommodate the growing e-commerce business.
Currently, AOT’s six airports can accommodate up to 3.6 million metric tons
of cargo and mail parcels.
Khon Kaen University unveils world's first silk bicycle
Khon Kaen - Khon Kaen
University has unveiled the world’s first silk bicycle to underline that
silk’s uses can extend beyond textiles.
The bike, built with a
15,000-20,000 baht budget, is a demonstration that silk can be formed
into a strong structure with the integrity of metal and used to replace
other materials. This particular application saw silk replacing the
carbon fiber used in bicycles, which typically costs up to four times
more than silk and would have added 40,000-100,000 baht to the creation
Silk can withstand five times more
pressure than aluminum and has eight times the tensile strength while
also being 30 times more shock absorbent. The silk bicycle is lighter
than an aluminum unit with the same weight rating and its absorptive
properties allows for longer distance riding.
The bike’s creators have registered
a patent for their silk and resin based structure for Khon Kaen
University, laying groundwork for silk to be developed from a culturally
applied material to more modern applications and increasing its economic