(Springfield, Mo.) As rescue efforts continue to ramp up in Thailand, a local expert weighs in on the challenges facing divers attempting to a save a soccer team and their coach.
As an international team works to rescue a thai soccer team trapped in a flooded cave, a diving expert in Springfield says the rescue will be incredibly complicated.
"Just knowing the conditions there in and what it’s going to take out. I’ve just been on kind of pins and needles watching to see how they get out ," explains Chris Hill, Certified Cave Diver, Ozarks Cave Diving Alliance.
Hill is an experienced cave diver who has gone on hundreds of dives in his career. He noted that with every dive--even in clear- open water, comes with some level of risk.
"Cave diving in some ways is kind of like going to outer space. Once you go down and you get a certain distance away from that opening you’re totally reliant on yourself, your equipment, and if you have a buddy, to deal with any situations."
Hill is apart of the Ozarks Cave Diving Alliance and says the task facing rescue divers in Thailand is unprecedented.
"There in zero visibility water so they can’t see where they are going, they can’t see anything and that’s a real challenge in cave diving."
While Hill has never had an underwater operation as challenging as the one happening in Thailand, experts say diving in those dark and dangerous caves have some similarities to dives in Missouri.
"So you’re diving in water that has a ceiling so in other words you can’t come up for air in an emergency and in many cases the caves are going to be muddy or rocky. They’re very harsh environments."
Somehow they have to find a way to transport the remaining players and coach through submerged cave passages, extremely tight spaces and total darkness.
"I cannot imagine being in a cave now where my life is depended on it and I’m having to trust somebody to get me out and I’m having to breathe on scuba underwater, I can’t see, it’s cold, there’s current."
As for us in Missouri, Hill wants to remind everyone to make sure you know what you're getting into before you go exploring.