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General Science => General Science => Topic started by: David Cooper on 07/07/2018 19:07:48

Title: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: David Cooper on 07/07/2018 19:07:48
Elon Musk has been tweeting suggestions, such as a long inflatable tube which could be put through the narrow tunnel sections to allow the trapped boys to crawl through in air rather than in water. This doesn't sound viable to me though: the current is strong and would likely rip the tube out, but you'd also have no way of getting into it or out at either end.

It seems likely that the place where the boys currently are will flood, so I expect they'll soon have to risk diving them out, and half of them will likely die in the attempt. The best chance for getting some of them out if they do this would be if they're able to use some kind of mask that allows them to talk to a diver ahead of them who would help pull them through on a line to fight the strong current, but communication is vital to avoid being pulled at the wrong times when snagged by rocks. I doubt they have the strength to get through under their own power.

They are now able to pipe air through to them though, and that opens up another possibility, but what I'm about to propose would need to be designed and built in a hurry. Imagine a narrow waterproof tent with no floor which could be pumped full of air from below. It could be anchored to bolts in the rock at the side of a tunnel, leaving plenty of room outside for water to flow past. A series of these could be put in place along the exit route, as well as having a number of them where the boys are currently trapped (which should be put in first). This would take off the time pressure by allowing them to stay for longer in a fully flooded tunnel/cave. It would also allow them to make the journey out in short stages.

I think this approach could save more of them. Is it being considered already? How can this idea get through to the people that can make it happen if it hasn't? I don't have the contacts or the influence needed to get this across - everything I say is simply ignored.
Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: Bored chemist on 07/07/2018 19:33:47
OK, it's a race.
Design, build and test the prototype.
Find a way to bolt it to the underwater walls of a cave without putting the divers at extreme risk  then get it delivered  installed+ tested.

Or we can teach the kids to swim.
Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: David Cooper on 07/07/2018 19:41:09
OK, it's a race.
Design, build and test the prototype.

There are plenty of companies that could do this in a very short time - it's the same technology as the boats cobbled together for migrants crossing from Turkey to Greece.

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Find a way to bolt it to the underwater walls of a cave without putting the divers at extreme risk

Standard rock climbing tools.

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Or we can teach the kids to swim.

Do that as well, but an experienced navy diver died of exhaustion trying to get out of there, so what do you think the chances are for the boys if they are rushed out? They may need to be rushed out soon if that bit of tunnel floods, unless the means to keep them there in air is installed in a hurry. There are some people in the world who have the means to do what I described and who could do it in 24 hours. I want to make sure they are working on the idea, and it doesn't need nay-saying nincompoops blocking this with stupid objections which may cost lives.
Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: Bored chemist on 07/07/2018 19:53:18
I have done a bit of rock climbing in my time.
I never tried to install rock-bolts while blind.
"an experienced navy diver died of exhaustion trying to get out of there"
Yes, and you want them to try to do something that's probably impossible; what do you think the outcome will be?

The tried + tested solution is usually a good start.
Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: David Cooper on 07/07/2018 20:03:08
I have done a bit of rock climbing in my time.
I never tried to install rock-bolts while blind.

Who's blind where the boys currently are? Do you seriously think the people there would be incapable of fitting bolts?

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Yes, and you want them to try to do something that's probably impossible; what do you think the outcome will be?

Impossible? What's so impossible about the fully possible?

And before anyone objects to how these "tents" would avoid being flattened by the current, strong tent poles could be used, or lines to bolts on the opposite wall to hold the shape while still leaving most of the tunnel open for water to flow through.
Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: Bored chemist on 07/07/2018 20:19:30
In the water in a cave- which is where you need the bolts- everyone is blind.

Installing rock bolts in those conditions is probably impossible.
Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: David Cooper on 07/07/2018 20:28:06
In the water in a cave- which is where you need the bolts- everyone is blind.

Installing rock bolts in those conditions is probably impossible.

They aren't in the water yet. The priority is to make where they are survivable if/when the water rises and floods their last refuge. Later on, more "tents" can be installed to provide resting places along the way for getting out, and I'm quite sure this can be done blind in muddy water, particularly when they're no longer under the same time pressure.
Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: Bored chemist on 07/07/2018 20:53:19
There is already water in the tunnels.
That's why the kids can't just walk out.
And that's where any sort of "underwater refuge" would need to be bolted into place under flowing muddy water in cramped conditions.

I's practically impossible.
If working in these conditions was easy then rescue would be a matter of sticking a mask on each kid  + pulling them out by holding their hand.
particularly when they're no longer under the same time pressure.

But they are under huge time pressure.
OK, after the kids are out they can carry on installing the emergency exits but...


Anyway I suggest we leave this to people who know what they are on about, and have knowledge of what's actually happening on the scene.
Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: jeffreyH on 07/07/2018 21:03:24
Use an inflatable tunnel into which you insert a thick pipe and fill round the outside of the pipe with foam while deflating the tunnel. As long as the pipe diameter can accommodate a person, when you withdraw the pipe you have a waterproof tunnel. Very likely too late to implement now.
Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: David Cooper on 07/07/2018 21:06:13
There is already water in the tunnels.
That's why the kids can't just walk out.
And that's where any sort of "underwater refuge" would need to be bolted into place under flowing muddy water in cramped conditions.

Are you on drugs? What's wrong with putting the air tents in in a part of tunnel that isn't underwater (i.e. where the boys are now) so that when that part floods they have air pockets to survive in provided by those tents? Why do you imagine such air tents would need to be installed underwater instead?

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I's practically impossible.

Why don't you go on twitter and attack Musk instead for wanting to drag an entire bouncy castle down there to block off the tunnel and kill everyone beyond it. What I'm proposing is actually possible and practical.

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If working in these conditions was easy then rescue would be a matter of sticking a mask on each kid  + pulling them out by holding their hand.

Conditions are hard on the way through. Conditions where the air tents would be installed are good, but won't be once the rains come.

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But they are under huge time pressure.

Of course they are, but this would take the pressure off.

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OK, after the kids are out they can carry on installing the emergency exits but...

Step 1: Install air tents where the boys are now. Pressure off. Step 2: install more air tents along the way out to use as staging posts so that each difficult section can be tackled after a rest, while also allowing lots of mental rehearsals of the next stage before taking it on.

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Anyway I suggest we leave this to people who know what they are on about, and have knowledge of what's actually happening on the scene.

I suggest that you get out of the way and stop trying to block others from getting perfectly viable ideas through to them. I fear that their plan is to rush them out because they haven't thought down this line, and the result will likely be half a dozen avoidable deaths.
Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: David Cooper on 07/07/2018 21:07:44
Use an inflatable tunnel into which you insert a thick pipe and fill round the outside of the pipe with foam while deflating the tunnel. As long as the pipe diameter can accommodate a person, when you withdraw the pipe you have a waterproof tunnel. Very likely too late to implement now.

How are you going to get all that junk down there, and how do you get anyone into it or out of it without it filling up with water?
Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: jeffreyH on 07/07/2018 21:11:25
One end of the tunnel is sealed. If done right it could be completed in stages.
Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: David Cooper on 07/07/2018 21:15:44
One end of the tunnel is sealed. If done right it could be completed in stages.

You're talking about a year-long project to build a tunnel inside a tunnel which would be full of water and narrower than the existing tunnel...
Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: jeffreyH on 07/07/2018 21:19:23
Buy a plane ticket and fly out there if you have the solution. Posting on a forum isn't going to solve anything. No one is prepared for this type of situation. If you don't think you can solve it then contact their embassy in the UK.
Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: Bored chemist on 07/07/2018 21:26:43
I fear that their plan is to rush them out because they haven't thought down this line, and the result will likely be half a dozen avoidable deaths.
They are talking about a plan that may take weeks.
That's hardly a rush.

I suggest that you get out of the way and stop trying to block others from getting perfectly viable ideas
In what way are you qualified to judge it to be "viable"?
Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: David Cooper on 07/07/2018 21:28:48
Buy a plane ticket and fly out there if you have the solution. Posting on a forum isn't going to solve anything. No one is prepared for this type of situation. If you don't think you can solve it then contact their embassy in the UK.

They are probably being bombarded by bonkers ideas from all round the world. What chance is there of getting a practical one through? Contacts. Chris has contacts. Chris has the ability to judge the quality of ideas. Posting here is the best chance of getting the idea through and of saving lives.
Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: David Cooper on 07/07/2018 21:30:48
They are talking about a plan that may take weeks.
That's hardly a rush.

They are talking about heavy rains potentially flooding the place within a matter of days.

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In what way are you qualified to judge it to be "viable"?

The possession of intelligence is the key.
Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: Bored chemist on 07/07/2018 21:39:21
They are talking about heavy rains potentially flooding the place within a matter of days.
So, you want them to rush your plan, rather than to rush theirs?
I don't see that as helpful.

The possession of intelligence is the key.
Knowing what the **** you are on about is the key. I know that the folk actually involved have a much better understanding of the issues than I have.
That's why I said this

I suggest we leave this to people who know what they are on about, and have knowledge of what's actually happening on the scene.
Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: David Cooper on 07/07/2018 21:50:18
They are talking about heavy rains potentially flooding the place within a matter of days.
So, you want them to rush your plan, rather than to rush theirs?
I don't see that as helpful.

I see indications that they may be about to do something rash, perhaps through lack of thinking through all the alternative options.

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Knowing what the **** you are on about is the key. I know that the folk actually involved have a much better understanding of the issues than I have

They certainly do, but that doesn't mean they've got it right.

I suggest we leave this to people who know what they are on about, and have knowledge of what's actually happening on the scene.

I suggest that anyone who has practical ideas to put forward should not be blocked by visionless people like you.
Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: David Cooper on 07/07/2018 22:05:19
And the reason I doubt they've thought of this solution is simply that I've not heard it mentioned anywhere, even though days have gone by during which it should have been discussed as an option where the situation has been analysed on news programmes where they've spelt out the problems in detail. This is a case where inventive people who understand scientific principles can potentially come up with better ideas than experts in a narrow field who are shackled in their thinking by what's been done before.
Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: Bored chemist on 07/07/2018 22:16:35
It would take longer to sort through the ideas than to get on with doing what they think will work (they have rescued kids from caves before).

Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: David Cooper on 07/07/2018 22:32:28
It would take longer to sort through the ideas than to get on with doing what they think will work (they have rescued kids from caves before).

All ideas should be passed through filters to eliminate the dud ones and allow the good ones to get through to the people best placed to act on them, and those filters need to be people of high intelligence rather than low. The whole world would be better run if we had the right networks to feed ideas into such that the better ones get referred on up, but instead of that we have armies of blockers who make it their life's mission to prevent progress.

Which kids have been rescued from flooded caves before? That hasn't been given any mention that I've heard - on the contrary, they talk about this being unprecedented. The closest to it that the experts have mentioned has been one where they rescued two men with a much easier route out, and one of the rescued men discussed that rescue at length.
Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: diverjohn on 08/07/2018 00:38:21
I have diving experience. There is no easy solution to the boys in the tunnel situation. Visibility is poor as the rain water brings sediment into the situation. If the boys are taken out by scuba divers, some will likely die, with hypothermia (long time in the water) and running out of air (people in panic use twice the air) being of top concerns here. Not good. If they are left inside the cave until October when the rains stop, they may die of disease (if one of them is harbouring a germ). If a tunnel is bored (mostly through limestone) there is risk of the cave collapsing. The flexible tunnel idea MIGHT work though it would be difficult to get it into place. In any case, there is no safe solution to this rescue. Let's hope the Boring engineers will use their GP radar and find a safe place to make a rescue tunnel.
Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: Bored chemist on 08/07/2018 10:42:58
Which kids have been rescued from flooded caves before?
https://www.nytimes.com/1993/07/25/us/midwest-flooding-stranded-boy-rescued-after-flood-cave-killed-4-youths-2-adults.html
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/more-than-a-dozen-trapped-by-high-water-in-kentucky-cave/


Now those two were in the US, so it's not the same case as one I know of from a caver who was present at an incident in the UK where a delighted cave rescue team who thought they were there to recover a body actually found the  boy alive.


instead of that we have armies of blockers who make it their life's mission to prevent progress.

Do you not see the symmetry here?

You are suggesting that the progress currently being made is blocked while people do something which is impractical or impossible.

When people point out issues with your idea they are not blocking "progress" they are, depending on circumstances, either blocking a bad idea, or at least providing feedback in order that any plan which includes your idea includes mechanisms to overcome the issues.
Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: Bored chemist on 08/07/2018 10:44:16
All ideas should be passed through filters to eliminate the dud ones and allow the good ones to get through to the people best placed to act on them, and those filters need to be people of high intelligence rather than low.
I have an IQ of 176 and your idea is a dud.
(I also don't believe IQ is relevant here- but you keep going on about intelligence...)
Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: syhprum on 08/07/2018 19:58:29
I think some mini submarine like device possibly constructed from large diameter tubing where the boy could be enclosed  in the dry with a communications headset and pulled thru.
A test run could be made with a dummy to see it did not jam and the boys could be dosed up with tranquilisers to reduce panic 
Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: David Cooper on 08/07/2018 20:08:49
Well, their plan A has gone well so far with four of them out safely. Their old plan B was thrown out when they decided that the place probably does flood to the roof and that they had to get them out in a hurry. My proposal was for an alternative plan B (and potentially for it to become plan A if plan A was judged to be more risky), but fortunately it looks as if they may well get them all out soon anyway. (Things would have looked very different today though if they'd been dying on the way out.)

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https://www.nytimes.com/1993/07/25/us/midwest-flooding-stranded-boy-rescued-after-flood-cave-killed-4-youths-2-adults.html

"By this morning, the water had receded and they entered the crawlway to find Gary Mahr, just 1,000 feet from where they had suspended the search "

In other words, they didn't need to dive anyone out.

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https://www.cbsnews.com/news/more-than-a-dozen-trapped-by-high-water-in-kentucky-cave/

No information on how they got them out, or on how far in they were.

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Now those two were in the US, so it's not the same case as one I know of from a caver who was present at an incident in the UK where a delighted cave rescue team who thought they were there to recover a body actually found the  boy alive.

Again no info on the difficulty and method of getting out.

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instead of that we have armies of blockers who make it their life's mission to prevent progress.

Do you not see the symmetry here?

What symmetry? The reality is that most good ideas, particularly in politics, run into a wall of idiocy which they simply don't break through - the intelligence of the bricks in the wall is very average and no one in it is capable of recognising a better-than-average idea, so the bulk of the ones that do get through are the mediocre ones.

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You are suggesting that the progress currently being made is blocked while people do something which is impractical or impossible.

I'm suggesting nothing of the kind - that is a fabrication of yours. I've been proposing an alternative option which would be fully possible and practical, and the parts could be built quickly. If the attempts today had led to drownings, they would be looking for a plan B with great urgency, and putting together the pieces for that plan would not have impeded plan A in any way at all - providing more options is never an obstruction.

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When people point out issues with your idea they are not blocking "progress" they are, depending on circumstances, either blocking a bad idea, or at least providing feedback in order that any plan which includes your idea includes mechanisms to overcome the issues.

In your case you were making ludicrous objections which were merely filling up a potentially-important thread with useless bloat.

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I have an IQ of 176

You've hidden that well.

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and your idea is a dud.

It would be possible to test it and see whose judgement is better. There's nothing in the idea that goes against science (and there's even a precedent for it in nature, if you know your spiders), so you're going to look more than a little stupid when someone demonstrates an air tent in action.

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(I also don't believe IQ is relevant here- but you keep going on about intelligence...)

It is relevant - when someone imagines that air tents have to be installed underwater rather than putting them in before the water rises, you know that their ability to model ideas in their head is not what it might be. Given that your IQ is so high though, perhaps you'd temporarily suppressed it by the celebration of a football result.
Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: Bored chemist on 09/07/2018 11:28:58
Again no info on the difficulty and method of getting out.
Actually there was further info.
It was tacit, rather tan explicit.
If they hadn't had to dive the lad out, I'd not have said that they did.

My proposal was for an alternative plan B
So, it wasn't actually a way to rescue them- it left them in the cave.

It is relevant - when someone imagines that air tents have to be installed underwater rather than putting them in before the water rises,

We do not live in a world where that state of affairs is relevant.
The boys were in the cave.
The water was in the way of them getting out.
Unless you are proposing time travel to get the tents in place before the boys got there  then, in order to actually rescue them, you need to establish an air filled path for their escape, you have to get that pathway under water.

If you are saying that all you planned to do was keep the boys in the cave indefinitely, well fair enough- the objections we raised were not relevant.
But I didn't realise you were considering something so monumentally dumb as to keep the kids there until they died of hypothermia or disease (which would be pretty soon in those conditions).

Sorry for the misunderstanding.

It seems that the people who know what they are doing have opted to do what they suggested rather than what you suggested, and it's working.
Funny that, isn't it?

Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: David Cooper on 09/07/2018 21:36:57
Actually there was further info.
It was tacit, rather tan explicit.
If they hadn't had to dive the lad out, I'd not have said that they did.

That doesn't automatically follow, but there's also the issue of how long any such dive was and whether there were any obstacles.

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So, it wasn't actually a way to rescue them- it left them in the cave.

The word is that the attempts to pump out water and to divert some of the streams that feed the caves led to a dramatic reduction in the strength of the current through parts of the cave, making the extraction much easier than had been predicted a couple of days before where it looked impossible. This explains the faster travel times and shows that the death of a navy diver there was no longer an accurate representation of the degree of risk. Had this change in conditions not occurred, it would have been surprising if they had managed to get them all through alive, but this change of conditions swung the odds in favour of an immediate extraction by making that the least risky option.

What I proposed, as is clearly stated earlier in this thread, is that air tents could buy time and take the pressure off. Once survival was assured, more air tents could have been fitted along the route to provide staging posts where recovery and further instruction (mental rehearsal of the next step) could have taken place, thereby making it more practical for them to fight the strong currents.

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We do not live in a world where that state of affairs is relevant.

They were in the dry, so it was fully relevant. They were in a place that might not have remained dry, so if it had been impossible to get them out straight away safely, maintaining dry space there would have been their only hope.

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Unless you are proposing time travel to get the tents in place before the boys got there  then, in order to actually rescue them, you need to establish an air filled path for their escape, you have to get that pathway under water.

If you can deliver tanks of compressed oxygen that far, you can deliver air tents and the equipment needed to fit them. The key thing to keep it going is a tube piping air in, and they had that in place before I started this thread - that's an essential for keeping the air tents full of good air.

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If you are saying that all you planned to do was keep the boys in the cave indefinitely, well fair enough- the objections we raised were not relevant.

The most vital purpose was to keep them alive indefinitely rather than have them drown there, but with the option of getting them out reasonably soon through small stages via more air tents.

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But I didn't realise you were considering something so monumentally dumb as to keep the kids there until they died of hypothermia or disease (which would be pretty soon in those conditions).

There's only one thing here that's monumentally dumb, and it isn't anything to do with me. An air tent would provide dry space and prevent skin rotting. The temperature there out of water is not a threat to life, and we have also invented things called clothes.

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Sorry for the misunderstanding.

All you're providing is misunderstandings.

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It seems that the people who know what they are doing have opted to do what they suggested rather than what you suggested, and it's working.
Funny that, isn't it?

That's called luck - a bit more rain and it could have been a very different story. What I'm suggesting isn't just for this case though, because there will inevitably be another case some day, and my proposal may be the key to maximising survival there. That is why you're not being helpful. Air tents need to be made and tested, and the main thing to test is how robust they need to be to avoid being ripped by currents or torn off the wall. Research is needed into the speed of currents in different tunnels and caves and not just the degree to which they flood. I'm talking about applying science and improving technology. You're happy to stick with what we already have and not to advance, but that will cost lives.
Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: mrsmith2211 on 10/07/2018 00:24:33
It seems oxygen may be a concern, if the void is solid one could hook a tube to an oxygen tank and hose ocygen to the cavity they are in, the air bubble in the cavity should stay, then shoot food in through the tubes like the old fashion drive up bank tubes until divers can rescue all the stranded people.
Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: Bored chemist on 10/07/2018 14:54:24
so you're going to look more than a little stupid when someone demonstrates an air tent in action.
Well, since they are out (without an air  tent in sight), it looks like I'm not going to look stupid.
Please don't bother to reply by saying "yes, but next time...".
Next time will be different.
Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: David Cooper on 10/07/2018 20:56:44
so you're going to look more than a little stupid when someone demonstrates an air tent in action.
Well, since they are out (without an air  tent in sight), it looks like I'm not going to look stupid.

Too late - you rubbished a viable idea, and you can't undo that.
Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: rami999 on 21/08/2018 22:14:15
it should be well built
Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: Bored chemist on 22/08/2018 22:14:32
so you're going to look more than a little stupid when someone demonstrates an air tent in action.
Well, since they are out (without an air  tent in sight), it looks like I'm not going to look stupid.

Too late - you rubbished a viable idea, and you can't undo that.
You have failed to prove that the idea was viable. Those in charge of the actual events didn't consider it to be so.

I put forward valid problems with a potential idea.
Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: David Cooper on 22/08/2018 23:16:54
You have failed to prove that the idea was viable.

I don't need to - people can simulate the idea in their heads to test it and make their own judgement (or misjudgement). Poor minds obviously run inferior simulations, but for a simulation to fail to rate this as probably viable, that would take a very poor mind indeed.

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Those in charge of the actual events didn't consider it to be so.

There's no indication that they ever had a chance to consider it at all - you need money to get ideas through to where they're needed, and that doesn't always go hand in hand with the quality of the ideas (as demonstrated by Tesla's submarine).
Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: Bored chemist on 23/08/2018 19:26:50
I don't need to - people can simulate the idea in their heads to test it and make their own judgement (or misjudgement). Poor minds obviously run inferior simulations, but for a simulation to fail to rate this as probably viable, that would take a very poor mind indeed.

It takes a remarkably poor mind to think that "proof by loud assertion" will work on a science web page.
Title: Re: How might we rescue people from flooded caves?
Post by: David Cooper on 23/08/2018 22:36:06
It takes a remarkably poor mind to think that "proof by loud assertion" will work on a science web page.

Yes - that's precisely why you should stop doing it.