Four boys rescued from Thailand cave: What we know now

Clay Curtis
July 11, 2018

An ambulance with flashing lights on Monday left the site of a flooded cave in northern Thailand where a youth soccer team has been trapped for two weeks, just hours after the second phase of a rescue operation was launched.

"Now and in the next three or four days, the conditions are flawless [for evacuation] in terms of the water, the weather and the boys' health", said Narongsak, governor of the Chiang Rai province, where the caves are.

The first two boys emerged Sunday night from the cave in Thailand where they have been trapped for two weeks.

Narongsak said the healthiest have been taken out first, and the next phase of the operation would start in 10-20 hours.

The twelve boys and their coach were discovered four kilometers into the cave complex by two British divers on July 2, nine days after they abandoned their bicycles and ventured inside only to become trapped by flood water.

At a news conference Monday, former Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn said the second rescue involved numerous same divers who brought the four boys out on Sunday. The boys were transferred by helicopter and ambulance to a hospital where they were being treated, but officials did not disclose details of their condition. General Kongcheep Tantrawanit said, referring to the area where rescue workers had set up a base.

Authorities have been rushing to extract the boys, ages 11-16, and their coach from the cave as the annual monsoon bears down on the mountainous region in far northern Chiang Rai province. A former Thai navy SEAL passed out while making the dive Friday and died. But authorities became anxious in recent days as oxygen levels inside the cave dropped due to a high presence of rescue workers. The operation started at 10 a.m., saying that it would take hours for the first person to be rescued, according to The Associated Press.

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He also says the families of the boys have been informed about the risky mission.

Hours after four boys were confirmed to have been rescued from the cave, Musk tweeted video of a small vessel being tested underwater.

Narongsak said some are well enough to ask for solid food.

"Today is D-day for the extraction, with the boys at their best mental and physical conditions and medical teams as well as rescue teams ready for operation", said the governor.

A total of 13 helicopters were on standby at the beginning of the rescue operation in case they were needed to take the boys and their coach to hospital quickly. Two other boys came out at 7:40 p.m. and 7:50 p.m. For the last several days, crews have been trying to drain enough water out of the cave to make the rescue easier.

Narongsak earlier cited favorable factors for successful rescue, including the fact that water levels in the cave remain stable amid the current break in the weather, even as the monsoon season looms.

As night fell, the operation to rescue the remaining eight boys - some as young as 11 and weak swimmers - and their coach was called off until today. It was raining Sunday, but Narongsak was optimistic that the rescue could continue Monday.

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