Four boys rescued from Thailand cave; eight delayed 10-20 hours

Clay Curtis
July 9, 2018

Complicated rescue: Local government officials said 13 foreign and five Thai divers are taking part in the long and unsafe operation to free the 12 young soccer players and their 25-year-old coach.

Thai media reported one of the four boys was in a critical condition and a family friend told a reporter it was Mongkol, the weakest of the group, whose condition has since stabilised.

When the boys are freed, they will immediately be taken to Chiangrai Prachanukroh hospital, around 60 miles from the cave site.

The boys, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach entered the cave to celebrate a birthday.

The first two schoolboys have emerged from a flooded Thai cave after divers launched a daring and risky mission to rescue the children and their soccer coach, who have been trapped underground for more than two weeks, a Thai official said.

The commander of yesterday's operation, regional governor Narongsak Osatanakorn said as the operation commenced: 'Today we are most ready.

Four boys were rescued Sunday night after 16 days in a cave in Thailand, and eight other youths and their soccer coach will attempt the journey out after a break of about 10 to 20 hours. This week, a former Thai navy diver died during one of the rescue missions.

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The third teenager rescued from the cave was said to need immediate medical attention, and instead of being taken by ambulance he was airlifted to hospital straight from the cave mouth. "Finding the boys doesn't mean we've finished our mission". But they remain "at war with water and time" as torrential monsoon downpours deluged the Tham Luang cave, in the hilly jungle of northern Thailand, and threatened to flood it even further. They eventually found a dry landing spot, where they waited for nine days before being found by two British divers. The plan was to have the boys swim out of the cave with the help of divers.

"The water level may rise to the area where the children are sitting and make the area less than 10sq meters", Narongsak said, citing estimates from cave divers and experts.

More than 100 exploratory holes were also bored - some shallow, but the longest 400 metres deep - into the mountainside in an attempt to open a second evacuation route and avoid forcing the boys into the risky dive.

Sam Teller, the spokesperson for the Boring Company, said four company engineers were "offering support in any way the government deems useful".

Meanwhile rescuers fed a kilometres-long air pipe into the cave to restore oxygen levels in the chamber where the team was sheltering with medics and divers.

Rain is falling in northern Thailand where boys and their coach are trapped on a small bit of dry ground deep in the flooded cave, adding urgency to the task of saving the trapped group. It was not immediately known if a USA diver was among them.

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