World

Thailand plans extra security measures at Tham Luang cave

BANGKOK: Thailand's prime minister said yesterday extra precautions would have be implemented to safeguard tourists who want to visit the cave where 12 boys and their football coach were trapped for more than two weeks.

The search and dramatic rescue operation to retrieve the 13 from the cave in the northern province of Chiang Rai has dominated headlines around the world, putting the Tham Luang cave complex firmly on the map.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha warned that safety measures would be needed inside and outside the cave.

"In future, we have to monitor the entrance and exit to the cave. This cave has become world famous… we have to install more lights inside the cave and put up signs," he told reporters in Bangkok.

"It's a dangerous cave," said Mr Prayuth, adding that the cave would be closed to the public for a while until "everything is in order".

He did not elaborate.

The 12 boys and their coach went missing on June 23 when they were exploring the cave after football practice, just before torrential rain flooded the complex.

British divers found the 13 huddled on a muddy bank in a partly flooded chamber several kilometres inside the complex on Monday last week.

Last week, the Tourism Authority of Thailand said it planned to promote the Tham Luang cave as a tourist attraction after it featured so prominently in the news.

Mountainous northern Thailand is riddled with caves.

Some have become places of Buddhist worship over the years, with Buddha images placed inside. Many have never been explored. - REUTERS

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