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Six Thai schoolboys rescued from flooded cave

11 July, 2018, 09:57 | Author: Ted Wilson
  • Thai cave rescue route

Thirty-five emergency doctors were on standby as the "exhausted" boys were flown by military helicopter or driven in ambulances to Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital.

He corrected earlier media reports that six of the boys had been successfully evacuated. Eighteen divers set off at 10 a.m. local time on a unsafe mission to rescue the junior soccer team, who had been stuck deep inside Tham Luang cave for 16 days.

Complicated rescue: Local government officials said 13 foreign and five Thai divers are taking part in the long and risky operation to free the 12 young soccer players and their 25-year-old coach.

The operation, which started on Sunday morning, will take two to three days to complete, as each round trip from the rescue camp in the cave to the site where the boys and their coach are located takes 11 hours. Major Saman Gunan, a former Thai Navy Seal who was volunteering for the rescue mission.

After a short deluge of rain on Saturday night and with more wet weather forecast later on Sunday, Mr Narongsak said authorities had to act immediately.

The president of soccer's governing body, FIFA, has invited the boys to the World Cup final in Moscow on Sunday if they make it out in time.

Osottanakorn told reporters that the team had rehearsed the plan for several days, and had cleared a sizeable amount of the flooding from the cave.

But you probably know that that means that there are still eight more boys and their coach trapped in the cave where they're awaiting the next phase of this very complicated rescue operation.

Prayuth also declined to answer questions about health of the four boys rescued yesterday.

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"As all of us said, the main thing is we still need more than 20 hours to get ready", Narongsak said. Rescue teams have made the pause to replace the air tanks.

Chiang Rai province acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn, who is heading the operation, said earlier Sunday that 13 foreign and five Thai divers were taking part in the rescue and two divers will accompany each boy as they're gradually extracted.

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

Still, the four were undergoing medical checks in a hospital in the provincial capital and were not yet allowed close contact with relatives due to fear of infections.

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.

Rescuers had expected the first boys to come out around 9pm - but the first emerged at 5:40pm.

But with some of them unable to swim and having no diving experience, Mr Narongsak had previously dubbed the rescue effort "Mission Impossible".

"The hole is really small, I have to take off my air tank to crawl through it", a 25-year-old Thai Navy Seal told Reuters before the rescue attempt.

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