Four boys rescued from Thailand cave; rescue efforts will continue tonight

Aaron Brown
July 10, 2018

Officials lavished praise on the Thai and worldwide divers who, in pairs of two, executed the risky rescue mission, guiding the boys, who could barely swim and had no diving experience, through a treacherous 4-kilometer-long (2 1/2-mile) escape route that twisted and turned through the cavern. "We should hear good news again", Narongsak said. Authorities say they want to get them out now, given the looming threat of more rain and floods.

The fate of the boys and their coach has gripped Thailand and drawn attention from around the world.

The weather in Chiang Rai, Thailand, where the boys and their coach are trapped in a cave, is "actually quite dry", said CBS News foreign correspondent Ben Tracy. He is still believed to be one of the nine inside the cave. The rescued boys had to travel almost two and a half miles from inside the cave to reach the outside, a path that is partially submerged in fast-flowing freezing water and with peaks and crevices extremely hard to fit through. Pairs of divers shepherded the boys on the long and painstaking journey out of the cave, navigating muddy and silty water through tight passages.

In an indication of how risky the journey can be, a former Thai navy diver died in the caves on Friday.

The Thai authorities have been pumping out water from the cave system ever since locating the missing soccer team, but that wasn't enough to remove all the water.

After rescuing the four boys, the officials paused the operation for at least 10 hours to fill the oxygen tanks that were used.

Eight people remain trapped in the cave. It could take two to four days complete the mission, officials said. "And we have more expertise than yesterday", he said.

The entire operation to get all 13 out of the cave could last two to four days, depending on weather and water conditions, army Maj.

"The operation went much better than expected, " Chiang Rai acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn, who is overseeing the mission, said Sunday night. A former Thai navy SEAL passed out while making the dive Friday and died.

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Four members of the Wild Boar soccer team were rescued on Sunday, and are recovering from their ordeal in hospital.

Two more ambulances have been seen leaving the site of a flooded cave in northern Thailand where young members of a soccer team and their 25-year-old coach have been trapped for more than two weeks.

Somboon Sompiangjai, 38, the father of one of the trapped boys, said parents were told by rescuers ahead of Sunday's operation the "strongest children" would be brought out first.

Water levels inside the massive Tham Luang cave complex in northern Chiang Rai province dropped by around a foot on Saturday and are at their lowest levels since the team became trapped June 23.

The four boys who were rescued on Sunday appeared to be in good health, Thai officials said, but were undergoing a battery of medical tests in the hospital to ensure they were free from disease and infection. Monsoon flooding cut off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for nearly 10 days.

He attributed the improvement of the extraction mission with lesser time spent to the increased experience with the terrain of the divers, the 100 plus people from different countries who installed the base line and the other support equipment.

Authorities spent hours replenishing air tanks along the cave's treacherous exit route.

That sense of accomplishment was also reflected in the message posted Monday night on the Thai Navy SEALS's Facebook page announcing the latest rescues.

Oxygen levels in the caves also dropped, causing the cramped passageways to be even more deadly than before.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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