Eight boys brought safely out of flooded Thai caves in two days

Arnold Nichols
July 10, 2018

The rescue operation will now pause for at least 10 hours, according to Narongsak Osatanakorn, chief of the command centers coordinating the rescue, so that divers can replenish their oxygen tanks.

Officials said Sunday that it may "take days" to bring all 12 boys and their coach to the surface.

They said the four boys already rescued are hungry but in good health in a hospital.

Officials said at a news conference that the parents of the rescued boys, whose names have not been released, have not yet been allowed to have physical contact with them, pending more extensive examination of their physical condition.

They will join four other boys who were rescued on Sunday.

A massive global search operation was launched and it took 10 days to locate the boys, who had taken shelter on a dry slope deep in the complex.

Dive tanks are needed on the journey in and out - the average tank holds about 2200 litres of air, and a skilled diver uses between 15-20 litres per minute near the surface, with that amount increasingly rapidly at depth.

A tiny submarine is on its way to Thailand, sent by Tesla CEO Elon Musk to help rescue the remaining members of a youth soccer team who are trapped in a cave.

Four boys were retrieved from the cave Sunday, with Narongsak noting that the healthiest boys were removed first.

The operation began at 10 a.m. local time and went faster than initially expected, but did not confirm which boys were rescued. Those conditions won't last if the rain resumes, he said.


A witness on the scene reported seeing three people being carried on stretchers from the cave into an ambulance on Monday, with the first one emerging around 4:30 p.m., Reuters said.

Narongsak said more personnel were being used in the rescue on Monday.

The first four boys, from the group of 13, including the coach, were rescued on Sunday.

Workers have been labouring around the clock to pump water out of the cave, and authorities said Monday that heavy downpours overnight did not raise water levels inside.

A relative of one member of the soccer team said that the boys' families had agreed to remain at the cave until all of the boys and the coach are brought out.

On Sunday, Musk tweeted videos of his engineers testing a "kid-size submarine" underwater in Los Angeles - a submarine that apparently is now on its way to Thailand. On Sunday, four boys were safely evacuated from the cave. Each boy is being accompanied by two divers and it takes hours to negotiate the flooded tunnels through the dark, murky water.

The death Friday of a former Thai navy SEAL, Saman Gunan, underscored the risks.

Rescuers have been navigating a unsafe and complicated plan to get the children out under the threat of heavy rain and rising water underground.

Lastly came Pipat Bodhu, 15, aka Nick, who was not even in the team but came along as a friend of the goalkeeper.

The group was found nine days later in a cramped chamber 2.5 miles inside the cave system by two British volunteer rescue divers.

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