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

Jubilation as 4 more boys rescued from flooded Thai cave

Jubilation as 4 more boys rescued from flooded Thai cave

The 12 boys and their coach were trapped in the cave for two weeks. On Monday, four more were rushed to a hospital.

Officials later confirmed the operation was under way again from about 11am local time (5am BST).

Now four boys have been safely freed from the cave, while eight more and their soccer coach remain trapped after 16 days of isolation.

Rescuers are moving ahead quickly because they are afraid monsoon rains will completely flood the caves. Medical staff involved in the rescue mission told Reuters their first assessments when the boys arrive at the hospital will focus on their breathing, signs of hypothermia and an airborne lung infection known as "cave disease" which is caused by bat and bird droppings and can be fatal if untreated and allowed to spread to other parts of the body.

Hours later, Musk shared video of the narrow, bullet-shaped tube being maneuvered through an underwater obstacle course with the assistance of two divers.

Authorities have said extracting the entire team from the cave could take up to four days, but two straight days of success raised hopes that it could be done faster. New oxygen tanks were being placed before the second stage of the rescue effort began. Those conditions won't last if the rain resumes, he said.

"We're ready for the operation today", said Narongsak, who said the weather and the water levels in the cave are good.

He told reporters the four rescued boys were taken to the hospital in the town of Chiang Rai, the provincial capital, for evaluation.

Since it is rainy season, you can expect nearly everyday you will get some type of rain. It is not immediately clear how the rains had affected levels inside the cave. But then oxygen started running low in the cave, and officials also anxious the little piece of real estate the boys and their coach have could be lost.

Thai officials have been tight-lipped about the rescue operation, and would not comment on how many people were removed Monday. But officials decided "the risk of leaving them there was greater".

Musk has been tweeting about the rescue effort for days and said he is "amazed by the bravery, resilience & tenacity of kids & diving team in Thailand".

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha went to the cave to inspect the rescue operation later on Monday, with navy rescuers giving him a rousing cheer. Previously, round trips through the cave network would take about 11 hours.

Governor of Chiang Rai province, Narongsak Osatanakorn, said: "Today is D-Day". Through a translator, he says people keep thinking about the teammates trapped underground and that "everyone is trying to help the families".

Narongsak Osottanakorn, the rescue mission chief, said that the same divers who carried out the operation yesterday are also involved in the second phase, along with additional personnel.

Air tanks were planted along the route earlier on Monday.

The boys stranded in the Thai cave. Relatives were able to see them through a glass partition, Narongsak said. "A sizeable minority, 10 to 30 per cent, will however experience enduring mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety disorders and PTSD".

The extraction of the four on Monday followed a similar pattern to the previous day, with the youngsters emerging in quick succession just before nightfall after navigating a treacherous escape route of more than four kilometres (2.5 miles).

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