Relief as first four Thai boys rescued from flooded cave
11 July, 2018, 05:31 | Author: Edward Snyder
The team of worldwide rescuers prepare to enter the cave in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand on July 5, 2018. Twelve children between the age of 11 and 16 and a soccer coach had been trapped inside for more than two weeks.
Divers had to hold the boys close to their bodies to bring them out and each had to wear an oxygen mask to enable normal breathing, authorities said.
However reports are now being made that the four boys rescued early this morning NZT were the weakest.
The team of 18 Thai and worldwide divers supported by at least 80 other rescue workers successfully rescued three more boys on Monday, two hours faster than the operation on Sunday.
Reuters news agency reported that six boys have been rescued, citing a senior member of the medical team involved in the rescue.
Gong Hui, a Chinese diver involved in the operation that has drawn some 130 Thai and global divers, told Reuters on Saturday before the fresh rains that water levels in the cave had "receded a lot" after sustained pumping had removed millions of liters of water.
The boys had to navigate through flooded passages that are no more than two feet wide in some areas. 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.
The unsafe mission, which required rescuers to traverse flooded, narrow cave passageways, already claimed the life of a former member of Thailand's elite Navy diving team.
The boys had to travel about 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) with oxygen tanks, tethered to cave divers to exit.
The rescue team included both divers who participated in Sunday's operation and new divers to replace those exhausted from the previous day's mission, he said.
But Narongsak said earlier that mild weather and falling water levels in recent days had created optimal conditions for an underwater evacuation.
On Sunday, Musk tweeted a series of videos showing a team of divers testing the pod in the swimming pool at Palisades Charter High School. The operation to rescue the boys, ages 11-16, and their 25-year-old coach by having them dive out of the flooded cave began Sunday morning, with expert divers entering the sprawling complex for the complicated and risky mission.
One former Navy Seal died trying to help rescue 12 boys and their coach who have been trapped in a cave for almost two weeks - highlighting the inherent risks in attempting to move the boys, who are physically weak after days without food and dwindling oxygen supplies.
Rescuers brought out the last five on stretchers, one by one over the course of Tuesday, and they were taken by helicopter to hospital. Narongsak Osottanakorn, the commander of search and rescue said, "If it rains and the water volume increases, we have to calculate, how much time do we have?"
They spent nine days unaccounted for inside the cave, before British divers found the emaciated and dishevelled group huddling on a muddy bank.
The 12 boys have been trapped in the cave along with their 25-year-old coach since 23 June, after rising water levels trapped them inside. He has also thanked global experts who helped find the boys. "If you ask me how long it will take, no one can answer that". The operation began at 10 a.m. and he said it would take at least 11 hours for the first person to be rescued.
An Australian doctor with cave diving experience examined the boys on Sunday and declared them fit for the operation.
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In the hours preceding the rescue, a letter the boys had sent to their families was published on the Thai SEALs' Facebook page . A spokesperson for the rescue operation told CNN that it would take multiple attempts to rescue all those trapped in the cave.
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