Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

4 rescued from Thailand cave as rescue operation underway

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Isaac Mcdaniel | 09 July, 2018, 00:10

A group of divers and Thai Navy SEALs rescued the four boys on Sunday in ten minutes less than they had practiced beforehand in what was called a "smooth operation" by Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn.

The 12 boys and their coach were exploring the cave when they became trapped by flood waters on 23 June.

Monsoon flooding cut off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for nearly 10 days.

On Saturday, rescue mission chief Narongsak said conditions were "perfect" to evacuate the team in the coming days before fresh rains and a possible rise in carbon dioxide further imperil the group. They had been missing for 10 days before they were discovered.

Two divers are helping each of the boys out as families wait nervously outside the cave entrance - 2.5 miles (4km) from where they were trapped. He said his native province Chiang Rai has hills and caves.

Thai Navy Seal command Arpakorn Yookongkaew said it was "tough" inside the cave, and the Gunan had passed out as he was making his way out of the cave after have set up oxygen cannisters.

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At 10 a.m. local time, 10 divers headed to chamber 9 where the boys are located and the others will remain along the route to assist. Each of the rescued boys had two divers with them at all times during the operation.

Of the 13-strong foreign dive team - mainly from Europe - three were escorting the children, while the remainder were positioned along the unsafe first kilometre stretch, where the boys will have to navigate through submerged passageways in some places no more than two feet (0.6 metre) wide.

Osottanakorn, the head of the rescue mission, told reporters that the team had rehearsed the plan for several days, and had cleared a sizeable amount of the flooding from the cave. Food, electrolyte drinks, drinking water, medicine and oxygen canisters have been delivered to them.

Eight of boys and the coach remained inside the Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex as authorities paused the global effort until Monday to replenish air tanks along the treacherous exit route.

"They are ready and decided by themselves to participate in the operation to extract them from the cave", Narongsak said. One boy's note said: "I'm doing fine, but the air is a little cold, but don't worry".

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