CHIANG RAI: The water pumps failed, and Commander Chaiyananta Peeranarong heard shouts of alarm as the final stage of an unprecedented operation to rescue 12 Thai boys and their coach from a flooded cave almost tipped into disaster, reports AFP.
The former Navy SEAL, 60, says he was the last to leave the Tham Luang cave after the 12 “Wild Boars” and their football coach were was safely extracted in a three-day operation that ended on Tuesday in jubilation.But the mission, which leaned on the expertise of elite foreign divers and Thai Navy SEALs, nearly turned into a calamity. Shortly after the last four boys and the 25-year-old coach were brought out Tuesday late afternoon, the water pumps failed in an area between two chambers, filling them with water as 20 rescuers remained inside.
“Suddenly the Australian guy who was overseeing that area started shouting that the water pump had stopped working,” Chaiyananta told AFP.
“If you didn’t use the water pump in that location, you could only come out with an oxygen tank,” he said, adding the remaining people did not have diving gear to hand.