First Boys Rescued Emerge

Arnold Nichols
July 9, 2018

Four boys out of 12 trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand with their soccer coach have been freed as part of an ongoing rescue mission that started Sunday after the group was initially found July 2-about a week after the search for them began. "Please take care", he added in the letter.

A senior member of the rescue medical team since confirmed that six boys have now exited the cave complex.

The first four boys have been rescued from the cave in Thailand where they have been trapped for two weeks.

He said 13 ambulances and multiple helicopters are ready to transport the boys and their coach to hospitals. It remains unclear how numerous boys have actually left the cave.

Chiang Rai provincial acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn, the head of the rescue operation, said divers will need about 10 hours to prepare for the next phase of rescue, but that the operation was going "better than expected".

The only way to bring them out of the cave is by navigating dark and tight passageways filled with muddy water and strong currents, as well as oxygen-depleted air. Shortly after nightfall, local time, Thai navy SEALs reported on Facebook that the four were rescued.

Monsoon flooding cut off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for nearly 10 days.

Officials are unsure how long the operation to rescue the boys, between the ages of 11 and 16, along with their 25-year-old coach, will take to complete. 'I know that we, the USA side, are prepared to stay as long as it takes to support the Thai operation.' She added that the core team consists of 17 people.

The Thai Navy Seals posted an image after the rescue operation was announced, showing rescue workers holding each others' arms.

Their ordeal has drawn huge media attention in Thailand and overseas, and getting the boys out safely could be a boost for Thailand's junta ahead of a general election next year.

12 boys and their football coach have been trapped inside the cave since 23 June, after the ventured into the cave system to escape heavy rainfall and then became trapped by rising waters. Getting trained divers in is easier than getting untrained kids out. On Saturday, a doctor examined the boys and said they were in good health.

A multinational rescue operation led to their being found safe on a dry ledge, but their extraction through narrow, still-flooded accessways has posed a risky challenge, especially amid concern for their health after being trapped without light or nourishment for so long.

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