Amid jubilation, 4 more boys rescued from flooded Thai cave

Jul 11, 2018, 01:49
Amid jubilation, 4 more boys rescued from flooded Thai cave

The rescue strategy was to begin with reducing water levels in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave so that the team could easily take the children out.

Efforts to rescue the boys - aged between 11 and 16 - got going again on Monday after a break to replenish oxygen supplies and make other preparations deep inside the cave complex.

Junta leader Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, who serves as prime minister, is expected to arrive at 5pm today.

Mr Narongsak - now the governor of Phayao province - said 90 divers, 50 of them foreigners, had taken part in yesterday's operation starting at 10am.

A press briefing was to be held shortly. Their families were being kept at a distance because of fears of infection, and the emaciated-looking boys were eating a rice-based porridge because they were still too weak to take regular food, authorities said. It takes the divers about eight hours to get into the cave, reach the boys, and bring them back out.

Osotthanakorn said the rescued boys would stay isolated to ensure that they were healthy, but that they had a strong appetite, and were asking for a Thai dish of beef with basil and chili.

Four boys and their soccer coach remain in the cave.

"If Phra Pirun helps us, we might be able to do it very quickly", Narongsak said, again invoking the god of rain, who is widely revered in Thailand.

UPDATE 0841 ET: The rescue operation has been suspended for the night in Thailand.

The football team went missing on June 23, having gone into the caves after Saturday practice to do some exploring, and ended up being trapped by rising flood water.

Two divers accompanied the boys, all of whom have been learning to dive only since July 2, when the first searchers found them.

The boys are being guided out of the cave by two divers with oxygen tanks.

Asked if the remaining five would be shuttled out together, rescue operations chief Narongsak Osottanakorn said it was up to the divers whose meticulous plans, including stashing extra oxygen tanks along the route, are "set for four people, if we bring five we have to change the plan".

Four ambulances were seen leaving the Thai cave site Monday.

The four rescued boys have been transported to a Chiang Rai hospital for treatment and medical evaluations, reported CBS.

Hundreds of spectators and journalists have gathered in the area around the cave, hoping for news that the boys and their coach would emerge safely. Thai navy SEALs are leading the effort, but more than 90 rescue workers from around the world have been laboring in and around the dark, twisting cave.

A total of eight boys have now been rescued. "I've been involved in cave rescue for 30 years and I can not even think of one that was more complicated".

Officials last week said they would bring the fittest people in the group out first, but Narongsak later said that whoever was ready first would be escorted out. Narongsak said experts told him the new rain could shrink the unflooded space where the boys are sheltering to 108 square feet.

They became trapped underground after a monsoon season downpour flooded the tunnels.

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