Rescue begins to pull remaining boys, coach from Thai cave

Aaron Brown
July 11, 2018

Four more members of a youth soccer team were pulled from a flooded cave in a second round of rescue operations in Thailand on Monday.

The dramatic and unsafe rescue was launched on Sunday and four boys were brought out that day.

As of Monday morning, eight boys and their coach remained in the cave where they have been trapped by floods since June 23.

Eight of the 12 boys trapped with their soccer coach in a labyrinthine flooded cave complex in northern Thailand have been freed, authorities said on Monday, adding that the time for rescuing the others will depend on the weather.

Jesada Chokdumrongsuk, deputy director-general of the Public Health Ministry, said the first four boys rescued, aged 12 to 16, are now able to eat normal food. Two divers were assigned to each child to help them navigate the risky, narrow passageways.

Three divers have been escorting the children, while the remainder are positioned along the unsafe first kilometre stretch.

The first part of the rescue involves elite divers who are holding the boys' oxygen tanks in front of them as they are escorted through narrow submerged holes.

Monday's mission began with eight boys and their 25-year-old coach still underground, all of whom have spent more than two weeks in the cave in Chiang Rai province. The team was initially planning to leave the boys in the cave until the water recedes but decided against it for fear of further flooding as more monsoon rains are expected in the coming days.

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On Monday, skies were largely clear over the site but rain has been forecast for at least the next three days.

But instead of being reunited with their families, Thai officials planned a few days ago to keep the boys in sterilized isolation units which prohibits physical contact.

Medical staff involved in the rescue mission told Reuters their first assessments when the boys arrive at the hospital will focus on their breathing, signs of hypothermia and an airborne lung infection known as "cave disease" which is caused by bat and bird droppings and can be fatal if untreated and allowed to spread to other parts of the body.

"This morning they said they are hungry, and they wanted Phad Kra Pao", he said.

Health experts also say the lack of sunlight and being in a confined space for more than two weeks can take a toll on them both physically and mentally. Four more boys and the coach remain in the cave. Visitors would need to wear sanitized clothes and stay two meters away from the children.

Spicy Thai basil leaves on rice, or Pad Krapao, was the meal of choice for the four Mu Pa Academy football players after they were rescued from Tham Luang Cave on Sunday, rescue mission chief Narongsak Osottanakorn said on Monday. The fifth boy was taken out of the cave before 5 pm local time (3.30 pm Indian Standard Time) while the sixth boy was stretchered out an hour later, The Guardian reported.

The first four were successfully evacuated and taken to Chiangrai Prachanukroh Hospital on Sunday. With the assistance of divers, they swam out with oxygen tanks, along a 2-mile long rope guiding them out.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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