The contingent of elite British cave divers assisting with the Thai rescue operation continues to grow, with the news that Jason Mallinson and Chris Jewel have flown into the country.

 

Chris Jewel

Chris Jewel

 

The duo hit the headlines in 2013 when they explored the deepest cave system in the western hemisphere, Sistema Huautla, in Mexico. During the expedition they completed the eighth deepest dive in history, venturing a total depth of 1,545 metres below the entrance of the cave (1,464 metres of dry cave followed by an 81m dive).

According to cave diving expert Gavin Newman, the man are taking more than 500kg of equipment with them, including four CCRs, 13 cylinders, drysuits and more.

 

Jason MallinsonJason Mallinson

Sadly, this positive step was tempered by the tragic news that a former Thai Navy SEAL who was volunteering with the operation has died while ferrying cylinders into the cave.

Oxygen levels in the chamber where the children and their coach have taken refuge have fallen to 15 percent, so air tanks have been taken in to boost this back to the normal 21 percent. Ex-Petty Officer Saman Gunan lost consciousness on his way out of the Tham Luang system after delivering air tanks. His dive partner managed to give him first aid in an underground chamber, but he could not be revived.

The fact that a highly trained and fit former Thai Navy SEAL can perish in this cave system is a stark reminder of just how perilous the situation is, and that getting the children and their coach to safety is going to be a monumental task.

 

Photo credit: Chris Jewel / SWNS.com

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