2nd rescue underway at flooded Thai cave

Tanya Simon
July 10, 2018

The 12 boys and their coach were trapped in the cave for two weeks.

"The eighth person is out and the operation is done for today", Sitthichai Klangpattana, flag officer to Thailand's navy SEAL commander, told The Associated Press.

He did not say how many boys the team hoped to bring out on Monday.

Poonsak Sripiromrak, who runs a shop selling gems, jewelry and religious statues in Mae Si, said the story has kept everyone in town on edge for the more than two weeks since the boys first went missing.

Authorities in northern Chiang Rai province began the risky mission to bring out the 12 boys and their coach earlier on Sunday.

The operation to rescue the Thai football team trapped in a cave has begun this morning.

Thai officials have been tight-lipped about the rescue operation, and would not comment on how many people were removed Monday. The message, like most posted by the SEALs, ended with the fighting cheer adopted from the U.S. Navy: Hooyah.

Although it rained on Sunday, it did not affect the water levels in the cave, said Narongsak Osatanakorn, the leader of the command center in charge of the rescue operation.

"All conditions are still as good as they were yesterday, " Narongsak told a news conference.

The plight of the group has transfixed Thailand and the rest of the world, as authorities struggled to locate them and then devise a plan to get the boys and their coach out. It is a race against the clock with heavy rain expected in coming days, which would again dangerously flood the tunnels with fast flowing, and rising, water.

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The four boys survived the treacherous journey through the Tham Luang caves, all emerging to walk unscathed into the hands of waiting medics.

The aide, Sitthichai Klangpattana, didn't comment on the boys' health or say how well the operation has gone.

"This morning they said they were hungry and wanted to eat khao pad grapao", Narongsak said referring to a Thai dish of meat fried with chilli and basil and served over rice. 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.

The following day (24th June), local authorities found hand and foot prints belonging to the team, while relatives started a vigil outside the cave in hopes that they would be found soon.

The boys, who are aged between 11 and 16 years old, along with their 25-year-old coach Ekkapol Chantawong, went to explore the Tham Luang Nang Non cave after football practice, but did not return home that night. The diver, the first fatality of the rescue effort, was working in a volunteer capacity and died on a mission to place oxygen canisters along the route., necessary for divers to safely travel the five to six hour route to where the boys are.

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.

He had said fresh air tanks needed to be laid along the underwater route.

Authorities have said the mission could take three or four days to complete.

Thirteen worldwide divers and five Thai Navy SEALs are involved in the operation. A few hours later, Michael Safi, a Guardian reporter, confirmed that the sixth boy had been rescued.

There were several concerns that prompted authorities to move forward with the plan to dive the boys out. One was that it was unknown how safe and dry the area where they had taken shelter would stay as Thailand's rainy season, which lasts until at least late October, picks up pace.

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