Doi Nang Non, “Mountain of the Sleeping Lady”, is a mountain range of the Thai highlands located in Chiang Rai Province, Thailand.
Tham Luang Nang Non, “Great Cave of the Sleeping Lady”, is a limestone cave in the Doi Nang Non range. It is a little more than 6 miles long, and has many narrow passages and tunnels winding under limestone strata.
A local junior football (soccer) team ventured into the cave on June 23. The twelve boys age 11 to 17, and their coach, Ekaphol Chantadee Wong, 25, had visited the cave before and were there on a team outing. It began to rain and they were trapped inside by rising water. Warning signs are posted, so just exactly why they entered the cave at this time is not known.
Divers found the boys were on a ledge in an air pocket about 2.5 miles into the cave, about a half-mile down. At least 1.5 miles of the path is under muddy water – about 15 feet at some point.
All twelve boys and their coach were reported to be alive on July 2. Because of non-stop rain it has been nearly impossible to rescue the boys, although they were provided with food and water. Divers from Thailand, Britain, and the United States joined in the search and rescue operations.
How the boys were rescued:
While water was being pumped out of the cave, divers placed a safety rope and additional oxygen tanks along the path between the cave mouth and the “Pattaya Beach” where the boys were located.
The first boy emerged in the early evening local time Sunday, July 8. Three more came out of the cave over the next two hours. Another four have been reported rescued on Monday, July 9.
Each boy is given a diving suit, boots, gloves, helmet and a full-face diving mask, then tethered to a diver, breathing from an oxygen tank the diver carries.
Most of the boys can’t swim, which complicates rescue efforts. Rescue workers and Thai navy SEALs started teaching some of the boys and their coach how to swim and dive Wednesday.
An additional four boys and their coach remain in the cave and are waiting to be rescued.