All 12 boys and their soccer coach rescued from Thailand cave

Pauline Gross
July 11, 2018

Thai authorities have said they are welcoming all offers of help in the rescue effort for the boys, who became trapped in a complex cave system in mountainous northern Thailand on Jun 23 when rising waters hemmed them in.

The rescued children were taken to the hospital, and officials said early Monday that they are strong and safe but need to undergo detailed medical checks. A former Thai navy SEAL passed out and died making the dive Friday. The acting governor of Chiang Rai state, Narongsak Osatanakorn, said that divers are unsure whether all five can be rescued in one or more missions. "All eight are in good health, no fever. everyone is in a good mental state", Jedsada Chokdamrongsuk, permanent secretary of the public health ministry, said at Chiang Rai hospital where the boys were recuperating on Tuesday morning. They and were in good condition in hospital, officials said. "And we will do it faster because we are afraid of the rain".

Paramedics with a stretcher believed to be carrying one of the boys from the soccer team in Chiang Rai on Sunday.

They spent nine days unaccounted for inside the cave, before British divers found the emaciated and dishevelled group huddling on a muddy bank above the flooding.

He said the plan is to launch the third rescue mission within 20 hours, and he is hoping for "100 per cent success".

Thai officials had said Sunday that they were temporarily suspending the rescue effort so they could replenish oxygen supplies and other gear.

Unconfirmed reports that the boys' coach, Ekapol Chanthawong, 25, was among the first four to be evacuated because of the poor state of his health, were dismissed on Monday.

A total of eight boys have now been brought out of the cave complex.

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One of the biggest concerns in the rescue operation is an area of the cave that is just 15 inches across so the boys have to separate from the divers in order to fit through.

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 unsafe mission.

TRT World's John Joe Regan said the rescued boys - who remained in the cave without food for nine days - are weak "but they are doing well". They were able to make recommendations on things like changing cabling layout and adjusting the flow of hoses to improve pumping power. The boys and their coach have been stranded about four kilometers inside the cave. A family member told CNN Monday that they hadn't been told which boys had been pulled out, and who is still trapped in the cave.

Channel News Asia reported seeing three helicopters flying from the cave toward the nearby city of Chiang Rai, where the rescued boys are being treated in a hospital. He addressed the rescue mission on Monday at the unveiling of a new project in Bangkok, where reporters asked him how many days it would take to get the boys out.

Among those are U.S. military partners, British cave diving experts - including the two men who first located the boys a week ago - and rescue workers from Australia, China and other countries.

It was not immediately clear Monday how the overnight rains had impacted water levels inside the flooded cave.

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

Other reports by GizPress

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