Friday, 21 September, 2018

Four Boys Freed From Cave, Rescue Efforts To Resume Later

Credit PA Credit PA
Faye Gross | 11 July, 2018, 04:47

Each boy is being accompanied by two divers. "If we wait and rain water comes in, our readiness will be lower than now", said Narongsak Osottanakorn, governor of Chiang Rai province.

The same divers that brought the first group of four boys to freedom will be used to enter the cave again to bring the remaining group out due to their knowledge of the terrain, said Thailand's Interior Minister, Anupong Paochinda.

The first boys exited the cave several hours before they were expected to - each leg of the journey was estimated to take six hours.

The "Wild Boars" soccer team, aged between 11 and 16, and their 25-year-old coach became trapped on June 23 while exploring the cave complex in the northern province of Chiang Rai when a rainy season downpour flooded the tunnels.

The operation began at 10 a.m. A third boy was reportedly freed at about 7:35 p.m. local time, and the fourth was rescued 12 minutes later.

An ambulance with flashing lights has left a cave complex in northern Thailand hours after the start of the second phase of an operation to rescue a youth soccer team trapped inside the flooded cave for more than two weeks.

Once past that stretch, the boys' escape route forks east at a T-junction, and they must scrabble over some diverse terrain including giant boulders, sand and slippery rocks with sudden cliff-like drops and further submerged passageways.

Authorities had looked at many different ways to save the boys and their coach.

But monsoon flooding cut their escape and prevented searchers from finding them for 10 days. Multiple calls to senior government officials and military personnel leading the rescue operation rang unanswered Monday evening.

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"They can not decide how many of them will be able to come out for the first operation".

More than 90 divers were involved in the rescue operation, which will continue today. Trips from the entrance to where the team is trapped and back to the entrance take about 11 hours. "We have set the plan for four people so if they want to take five out (at the same time), then they need to change the plan".

The staff of the emergency services in Thailand was pulled from the caves of Tham Luang young players of the football team. There were no further official details on the boys' identity or their medical condition on Monday.

Narongsak said rescuers had to tighten a guide rope as part of their preparations for Monday's operation.

The rescue got off to a good start, with the first boy coming out at 5.40pm local time (11.40am United Kingdom time).

An Australian doctor who is part of the rescue mission checked the health of the boys on Saturday night and gave the all-clear for the operation to proceed. He was taken by helicopter and ambulance to the same hospital in Chiang Rai where the first four boys rescued Sunday by a team of global and Thai dive experts are being treated.

A frantic rescue mission was hatched in the week since they were found.

He says: "If we keep on waiting and the rains come in the next three or four days, our readiness will decrease". "The boys are ready to face any challenges", Mr Narongsak told reporters near the cave site on Sunday morning.

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