PADDY’S HEAD, N.S. -- The international rescue operation to save 12 members of a Thai youth soccer team and their coach trapped in a cave more than one kilometer underground  is being closely watched by divers in the Maritimes.

The boys have been trapped for two weeks, with rescuers able to save only four members so far. Local diving experts say the rescue is no easy task.

David Pate teaches scuba diving. He says when someone first learns to dive, it’s frightening to simply be in open water.

Pate says the situation for the Thai boys, is much worse.

“You're dealing with people who've never been underwater. In some cases, they've said that they don't even know how to swim. So you're basically trying to give them a crash course in how to be underwater,” he says.

The rescue mission will take three hours, travelling just five kilometers from the ledge where the boys are trapped to the entrance to the cave. Much of that swim is in the dark.  

Even highly experienced divers, like Alisha and Joey Postma, say this is a daunting task. 

“It's a very long time to be following a guideline, and not really knowing where you're going or where you are,” says Joey Postma.

“Words cannot describe how physically, mentally challenging this must be,” adds Alisha Postma. “The precision and the dedication and the knowledge that they need to have, it's unreal.”

Rescuers are resting while they plan how to get the remaining eight team members and their coach out safety.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Emily Baron-Cadloff