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Thai cave rescue: Drones, dogs, drilling and desperation

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Last Saturday, 12 young boys went to explore a cave with their coach after football practice in northern Thailand.

Their bikes were found abandoned at the entrance and shortly after, heavy rain sent torrents of water through the cave.

Over the past week, rescuers have been mounting an increasingly desperate search, in the hope the group are alive deep inside the cave but trapped by floodwaters.

Here’s what the operation, in the jungle-covered hills around Chiang Rai, involves:

Expert divers

Thai navy divers been trying to access the deepest caverns of the Tham Luang Nang Non cave, the fourth longest in Thailand.

Four top British cave divers, along with some US military personnel, also joined the efforts.

Image copyright Facebook/ekatol
Image caption A Facebook photo shows the coach with what is thought to be his football team

The divers are swimming through tiny spaces and cannot risk going too far into flooded passages or they risk running out of air.

The search has been frustrated by rushing water and near darkness inside the cave. Debris and mud leaves divers with almost no visibility; they can only see a few centimetres in front of them.

It’s been described as like swimming through cold coffee.

Pumps and drills

Powerful industrial water pumps, put in place to reduce the water level inside the cave, have struggled to combat relentless rains. With the entrance flooded, pumping was halted on Thursday and divers forced to stop their search intermittently.

Rescue efforts shifted to finding other ways to access – and reduce water in – the cave.

That has involved drilling through rock to drain water, so the divers could resume the search – although the thickness of the cave’s wall has made this difficult.

Another option would be to drill into the cave to create a new route to try to reach the boys.

But finding an area on the densely jungle-covered and muddy mountainside for the heavy machinery required, while ensuring surrounding rock does not collapse, makes the idea of drilling a hole to access the cave an impractical one.

Drones and robots

Other technology has aided the massive human search effort which includes the military, police and hundreds of volunteers.

Drones equipped with thermal cameras have been flown over Tham Luang to detect possible access points. An underwater robot was deployed to send information back on the water depth and condition of the cave.

No technology exists to scan for people deep underground.

There are plans to send cameras down to try to work out the next step and potentially to make contact with the missing group.

Sniffer dogs

The animals have helped survey teams investigate the area above the cave complex, which is several kilometres long, searching for possible ways in. The dogs were brought to the site after smelling clothing belonging to the missing children, news agency AFP reported.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Soldiers carried large hoses into the cave in an effort to drain rising flood waters

Relatives of the missing have camped outside the cave since they went missing on 23 June. Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha arrived at the site to speak with them on Friday.

Survival boxes

Dozens of “survival boxes” containing food, maps and mobile phones were to be sent into the cave on Friday, according to the police.

They plan to drop the boxes into any openings they find in the limestone rock on the mountains above the caves, and, if they do not find the missing boys, to float them on underground rivers in the hope they might reach them.

A police team was able to descend one such hole, discovered by two of the British caving team, and discovered a large chamber, which may take them into part of the cave complex

Police Col Kraiboon Sotsong told reporters the boxes contained a message telling whoever found it to float the box back out.

“The note says: ‘If received, then reply and show on the map where you are. Everybody will quickly help.”

Image caption Thailand has deployed more than 1,000 people – including soldiers, divers and special forces – to search for the team

Plan for rescue

When they are found, the operation to get the group out of the cave will be long. Experts say it could take weeks, if they are found alive, to bring them to safety.

Heavy rains at this time of year mean long passages might well remain continuously flooded for months.

Earlier in the week local officials said rescue teams were preparing to train the boys and their coach to use scuba gear, in case they had to dive out through flooded areas of the cave.

But navigating their way out would be incredibly difficult and it’s more likely food and supplies would be sent in while work continued to find another entrance.

BBC

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SHOWBIZ KONKONSAH

Former Ghanaian dance champion Alex Ofori passes on

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The late Alex Ofori was a former Ghanaian National Dance Champion

•The late Alex Ofori was a choreographer and a fashion model

• He became much popular after winning the Ghana National Dance competition in 1988

• The late dancer has been eulogized by popular Ghanaian media personality, Mr. Kwasi Kyei Darkwa

Former Ghanaian National Dance Champion, Alex Ofori, has reportedly passed on.

The late Alex Ofori who shot to fame after winning the Ghana National Dance competition in 1988, has worked with the likes of Slim Buster, who won the championship in 1987, Ebenezer Ako Nai who also won in 1987, Terry Ofosu Bright, aka Sir Robot who won in 1989 and Reggie Rockstone among others.

Announcing his demise on Facebook on June 16, 2021, veteran broadcaster Kwesi Kyei Darkwa (KKD) stated that the dance champion brought so much excitement and joy to Ghanaians whenever he got on a stage or dance floor.

He also eulogized him paving the way for new dance talents the country currently possesses.

“Rest in peace ALEX OFORI, Former National Dance Champion- Great Embassy Double Do, Dancer-Choreographer & Fashion Model. You brought so much excitement & joy to our motherland wherever you got on a stage or dance floor. With the likes of World Dance Champion Adjetey Sowah, unique breakdancer Reginald Osei aka Reggie Rockstone, Show dancers Firekiller, Como Basto, Carlos Alberto, Tee Pee & many enthusiastic young talents of the 80s & 90s, you helped turn what was your passion into a mainstay of live shows & television entertainment. Today, those talents you shared with the world just for fun, your labor of love has become a popular profession.”

“You & your colleagues paved the way for the talent we enjoy in dance choreography at national events & in numerous music videos. Life: How unpredictable you are. & how fragile we are,” he wrote on Facebook.

It can be recalled that the late Alex Ofori once represented Ghana at the World Dance Championship series at the London Hippodrome.

Read the post below:

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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SHOWBIZ KONKONSAH

VIDEO: Kennedy Agyapong celebrates 61st birthday in Dubai with his 16 daughters

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Assin Central MP, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong celebrating his birthday with wife and children

• The Assin Central MP was swamped by his beautiful daughters at his 61st birthday party in Dubai

• Kennedy Agyapong turned 61 on June 16, 2021

• The lawmaker received and unwrapped some expensive gifts from his children

Assin Central MP, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, joined his daughters in Dubai to celebrate his 61st birthday on June 16, 2021.

In a video making rounds on social media, the outspoken lawmaker was captured in a plush restaurant, swamped by his beautiful daughters and wife.

With the exception of Arnell, who is alleged to have been ‘disowned’ by Mr. Agyapong, the rest of his 16 beautiful daughters were seen seated at a dinner table with their father having a nice time.

Beaming with smiles, Mr. Agyapong one-by-one unwrapped the gifts presented to him by his children.

The all-white birthday party was climaxed with a kiss from his wife.

Watch the video below:

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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GENERAL NEWS

One shot as sand winners clash with Okyeman taskforce at Adeiso

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Sand winners and Taskforce clash in Adeiso

One person has been shot in a clash between the Okyeman Environmental Protection task force and sand winners at Adeiso in the West Akyem Municipality in the Eastern region.

The task force stormed the Tank Akuraa community near Adeiso, arrested and handcuffed one Osae Kwame, a sand winner and threw him into a Nissan Pick Up but were pursued by the youth who rescued him.

Later the taskforce members attacked Summertide sand winning Company site at Obeng Yaw village, also near Adeiso, amidst the firing of guns and arrested five workers and shot one other.

Armed police responded to the distress calls about the incidents but the Taskforce failed to stop when signalled by Police.

They were given a hot chase but to no avail.

Information spread through the Communities leading to the youth mounting roadblocks and attacked the task force.

Sensing danger Okyeman Mponuahene, Barima Twum Tabriade and Okyeman Akwansrahene went to the Adeiso police station to seek refuge in a Jeep Patriot SUV with registration number GS9835-19 which had three tyres deflated.

The angry youth and sand winners massed up at the Police station seeking the release of the two chiefs for instant justice.

Due to the tension, Adeiso District Police command called on the Divisional Command for reinforcement to contain the situation.

A search in the Jeep SUV which belongs to Akwansrahene, Baffour Sarpong, contained one AK 47 assault rifle with 3 magazines and 7 Pump-action cartilages.

The five (5 ) suspects including the two chiefs were whisked to Asamankese Divisional Headquarters by the reinforcement team where they were granted Police enquiry bail.

The Public Relations Officer of the Eastern Regional Police Command, DSP Ebenezer Tetteh confirmed the incident.

He said the Regional Police Command has dispatched a team to the troubled area to help resolve the matter to restore calm.

Okyeman Environmental Protection Taskforce was formed over a decade ago to fight against illegal mining, illegal sand winning and illegal chainsawing.

Source: starrfm.com.gh

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