More Boys Pulled From Flooded Cave In Thailand

Clay Curtis
July 11, 2018

The four boys pulled from the cave Sunday in an urgent and unsafe operation that involved them diving through the cave's dark, tight and twisting passages were happy and in good health, authorities said. Narongsak on Monday said their identities were being protected out of respect for the families of those still trapped inside the cave.

"The mission has resumed", a government official closely involved in the mission told Reuters, declining to be identified.

The story of the boys and their novice monk-turned-soccer coach from this small town on the Thai-Myanmar border - remarkably found alive nine days after they went missing June 23 - launched an worldwide rescue effort and intricate planning on how to maneuver all 13 safely through the narrow passageways and ink-black waters.

British divers found the 13, huddled on a muddy bank in a partly flooded chamber several kilometers inside the complex, on Monday last week.

Eight people remain trapped in the flooded cave system.

The risky bid to rescue the boys - aged between 11 and 16 - got going again hours earlier on Monday after a break to replenish oxygen supplies and make other preparations deep inside the cave complex in northern Thailand's Chiang Rai province. It is a race against the clock with heavy rain expected in coming days, which would again dangerously flood the tunnels. "This morning they complained that they are hungry and they asked for fried basil with rice", said rescue mission commander Narongsak Osottanakorn.

Nine people remained trapped in the cave, including the team's coach, after four boys were rescued on Sunday, the first day of the rescue operation.

Narongsak said Monday's rescues involving 18 divers and a support team of 100 had taken nine hours, two fewer than the rescues on Sunday.

Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda told reporters the four rescued boys rescued on Sunday were in good health in hospital but did not give details.

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There was no word on the condition of any of the people brought out on Monday.

The names of the rescued boys were not released. The families have not yet been able to interact with the boys out of fears of infection.

The world has been hooked on the fate of the group of Thai boys trapped in a cave and the heroic attempts to rescue them.

The boys who were pulled from the cave late Sunday are recovering from their ordeal in a newly converted isolation ward at Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital.

"The medical team is considering whether to let closest relative visit them", Osotthanakorn said.

"We have not been told which child has been brought out". "The boys' strength, the plan - today we are ready like before".

Narongsak said ahead of the rescue dive that recent mild weather and falling water levels had created optimal conditions for an underwater evacuation.

Authorities have been rushing to extract the boys, ages 11-16, and their coach from the cave as monsoon rains bore down on the mountainous region in far northern Chiang Rai province. The mood was fairly relaxed among the soldiers, medics, engineers and volunteers in yellow shirts that milled around. "I can help him with his homework", he said. On top of all the concerns inside the cave, Thailand's rainy season is looming.

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