Published: Mon, July 09, 2018
Sports | By Juana Wells

4 boys of 13 trapped in Thai cave extracted

4 boys of 13 trapped in Thai cave extracted

Thai officials estimated the rescue operation would take 10 hours and end by 9 p.m. on Monday.

Rescuers have suggested that it may take up to two days for the rescue to be completed, with each boy being brought out individually.

Channel News Asia reported seeing three helicopters flying from the cave toward Chiang Rai's city center, where the rescued boys are being treated in hospital.

He said that four boys were rescued in Sunday's effort.

Less than an hour earlier, an ambulance with flashing lights had left the cave complex, hours after the start of the second phase of an operation to rescue the soccer team.

Remember those soccer boys who spent more than two weeks in a Thai cave after water from heavy rain blocked their exit?

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.

Rescuers made a decision to go ahead with the hazardous operation on Sunday because of fears of rising waters.

Narongsak said favorable factors for a successful rescue, including the fact that water levels in the cave remain stable even though rain had fallen.

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.

Emergency workers carry a stretcher with one of the rescued boy to be transported by ambulance to a hospital.

The Wild Boars and their coach became trapped on June 23 when they set out to explore the vast cave complex after soccer practice, when a rainy season downpour flooded the tunnels.

Still, the original four were undergoing medical checks in a hospital in the provincial capital and were not yet allowed close contact with relatives due to fear of infections. That brought the total number of boys rescued to five.

A deluge could overwhelm efforts to lower water levels in the caves - more than 32 million gallons of water were pumped out after the boys were found alive last Monday.

On Friday, the death of a former Thai navy SEAL underscored the risks.

On Sunday, Musk tweeted videos of his engineers testing a "kid-size submarine" underwater in Los Angeles - a submarine that apparently is now on its way to Thailand.

The journey to reach the cavern where the boys are waiting -which is roughly 2.4 km (1.5 miles)-can take about six hours (paywall), as divers negotiate openings as narrow as 2 ft tall in the cave network, so narrow that a scuba diver can't swim through with an air tank on their back.

None of the boys' identities have not yet been publicly revealed.

Rescuers have been navigating a risky and complicated plan to get the children out under the threat of heavy rain and rising water underground.

Rescue teams had to take a break to restock their oxygen supply. Earlier in the day, he went to Phuket to check on the search operation of tourists who were missing after a boat capsized off the resort island's coast on Thursday.

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