Boys Emerge Safely From Cave In Thailand; Rescue Mission Continues

Hugh Fox
July 11, 2018

Local and global media in Thailand are reporting two of the 12 boys trapped in the flooded Tham Luang cave have been successfully rescued after nearly two weeks.

A team of 13 global cave diving experts and five Thai divers entered the precarious cave system at 10am local time on Sunday, after attempts to drill through to them were abandoned. Divers brought the first boy from the cave at around 5:40 p.m. local time, less than eight hours after the rescue operation started.

Completing the mission could take up to 3 or 4 days, depending on the weather, rescue operators told Reuters.

The latest images out of Chiang Rai show heavy clouds hanging low around the mountains where crews are racing to rescue the remaining members of the soccer team and their coach.

The boys, who range in age from 11 to 15, as well as the coach, have practiced wearing diving masks and Thai Navy SEALS are being told to prepare for a sudden evacuation.

A source at the Chiang Rai hospital said that five emergency response doctors were awaiting the boys and a further 30 doctors were on stand-by.

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The boys had to navigate through flooded passages that are no more than two feet wide in some areas.

The team of 12 boys and their coach entered the cave system on June 23, but torrential rain caused the water level within the cave to rise rapidly, forcing them to venture deeper.

Between four to six boys have been rescued in the first phase of the operation to free the trapped soccer team, Thai officials told reporters.

Four boys were brought safely out of the cave on Sunday.

The boys, aged between 11 and 16, and their 25-year-old coach belong to a local team called Moo Pa (Wild Boars) Academy. Gen. Anupong said that process could take several hours.

Narongsak Osottanakorn, the Chiang Rai governor and head of the rescue mission, said that "today, everything was smooth".

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In places the passage is so tight divers have to take the scuba tank off their backs and carry their gear through one piece at a time.

Thirteen medical teams - each with its own ambulance and helicopter - await the boys and their coach, according to Reuters.

They spent nine days unaccounted for inside the cave, before British divers found the emaciated and dishevelled group huddling on a muddy bank.

The boys were trapped in the cave when unexpected rains made their trip out impossible.

A multi-pronged rescue effort has been underway since they were found almost a week ago. Thai navy SEALs say four of the 12 soccer team members are out of the cave.

To ensure a clear path for getting evacuees to the hospital and to safeguard their privacy, authorities ordered the media to move away from the cave before the boys came out.

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They were guided by expert divers who plotted the hours-long escape through more than four kilometres (2.5 miles) of twisting passageways and flooded chambers.

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