The search at the Tham Luang Nang Non caves in Chiang Rai Province for rescue equipment from the widely publicised football team rescue in July last year has begun.
Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) deputy chief Jongklai Worapongsathorn, who led the 35-strong survey team which included Thai Navy Seals and British cave expert Vernon Unsworth, said this was an initial survey, after the cave's flood level was deemed safe enough, to record about equipment there.
No equipment will be moved out pending the result of a meeting on January 25 at Chiang Rai City Hall, he said.
The survey would take about 6-8 hours, Jongklai said.
As the cave's gates were closed to visitors, all members of the survey team signed a log to make sure everyone returned afterwards.
They carried bin bags to collect garbage from inside the cave. Equipment such as electrical wires, air tubes and water pipes would be preserved in the same condition, pending further action, officials said.
The DNP hopes to develop the huge limestone cave network into a tourist destination after the damage inflicted during the rescue operations is repaired. Clear signs warning which parts of the cave are off-limits will be erected to prevent tourists from getting lost in the cave complex, the authorities said.