Illinois man helping to save soccer team trapped in Thai cave

MARION, Ill. - A southern Illinois man is helping to save a soccer team trapped in a cave in Thailand.

Thanet Ntisri and his wife, Yada, own Thai-D restaurant in Marion, Illinois. Thanet is helping to pump water out of the cave to help bring the 12 boys and their coach to safety.

The Thai restaurant posted this message to their Facebook page:

"Have you heard about the recent news in Thailand about the 12 boys and their coach that were trapped inside the cave? Our co-owner, Thanet Natisri is part of this rescue mission! He is in charge of maintaining the water level inside the cave which is very crucial! He pumps the water out of the cave as well as leading the exploration team to stop the water from entering the cave through sinkholes. As of now, 4 boys rescued from the cave, 9 more to go. Hoping and praying for the safety of the kids and rescuers. Stay-tuned!"

KFVS-TV reported that Thanet, who is originally from Thailand, is a groundwater expert. He was conducting charity work in the country when the team was trapped in the cave by flood waters. The Thai military tapped Thanet to assist with the rescue mission.

"He's watching for sinkholes and trying to divert water from the cave so that the water level inside doesn't rise," said Yada Ntisri. "A tough job in monsoon season, with more rain in the forecast."

Thus far, Thanet's efforts appear to be working. Crews pulled out four more boys who were trapped in that flooded cave system. Four more boys and their coach remain trapped inside the Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex.

However, once the 12 boys and their soccer coach make it to safety, the rescuers themselves will need to be pulled from the caves.

The rescuers are racing against the clock as a big storm is expected to hit on Wednesday.