A diver who has volunteered to help get 12 boys and their football coach out of a cave complex in Thailand has said the rescue could happen “today or tomorrow”.
Ivan Karadzic told Sky News he expected the mission to take place “very soon”.
He also said the “mood has changed” among the rescue team after a former Navy Seal diver died while taking part in the effort.
“It makes us very sad,” he said.
Rescue teams are racing against time amid worsening weather and lowered oxygen levels in the underground complex.
Thai navy Seal commander Arpakorn Yookongkaew said there was a “limited amount of time” to reach the boys and their coach.
“At first we thought that we could sustain the kids’ lives for a long time where they are, but now, many things have changed.”
If the rescue does happen soon, it will be partly because monsoon rain is forecast again from Saturday, and is likely to raise the floodwaters inside the cave.
Sky correspondent Sally Lockwood, who is at the scene, said that leaving the boys and their coach where they are until the end of monsoon season is a “huge risk as the worst storms are still to come”.
Mr Karadzic, a cave diver from Denmark, said the key challenge was that children were involved.
“Most cave divers will have training to rescue other cave divers,” he explained. “But rescuing kids out of a cave – that is new to most of us.”
It would be “very difficult”, he said, adding: “I have zero experience with rescuing kids from caves. I don’t think anybody has.”
Mr Karadzic said the complex in Chiang Rai province was “not enormously challenging”.
“The cave is very shallow – it’s five, seven metres, so you can dive for a long time,” he said. “The deeper you dive, the faster you consume the gas.
“But obviously the situation makes it incredibly challenging.”
He said the flood water inside the cave complex was receding.
“When I was in there yesterday, it was going down about a centimetre or two per hour,” he said.
Mr Karadzic has been helping to plant diving cylinders along the 2.5 mile (4km) route to the boys and their coach.
It is not possible, he said, for divers who are pushing all the way through to the trapped group to carry enough air.
From – SkyNews