And this was previously shared on the Kampot Noticeboard:
As far as I am aware, I am the only technical diving instructor and underwater cave explorer in Kampot. As a published author in underwater cave exploration, one of the first underwater cave explorers in northwestern Thailand, and with hundreds of multi-gas deep wreck and cave dives under my belt, I believe I can try to help others understand the extreme nature of the rescue effort in Thailand.
First of all, cave diving is the most extreme and dangerous activity that exists. By percentage, more cave divers have lost their lives than in any other activity. The cave systems in Thailand are treacherous – I almost died in one and others have, so I have the greatest respect for them.
The cave the boys have been trapped in has what is called a severe “restriction”, a space so small that tanks (air or Nitrox, not oxygen as has been used in the press), must be removed. If you consider being in a blackness the likes of which you cannot imagine, with silted out conditions that handheld lamps cannot shine through, removing your tanks and pushing them ahead of you or hanging them from a D-ring on your belt where you can only feel your way blindly along a lifeline, you start getting the idea. Only very experienced cave divers attempt this.
Now imagine having a terrified child who can’t swim and has never dived depending on you for their life. Learning to rescue yourself in these conditions requires much training, and the training given cave divers to rescue others only deals with other experienced cave divers, not scared children.
For what it’s worth, I believe the method chosen for the extraction, with two accompanying divers with one child in a full face mask, is the best possible one under the circumstances and was very wisely decided upon by the rescue teams.
I can only hope for the best for the children and the divers, as do we all, and give my utmost respect and admiration to those who have risked – and given – their lives in this undertaking.