First Thailand boys rescued two weeks after being trapped in cave
11 July, 2018, 09:57 | Author: Donnie King
Expert climbers, divers and ThaiNavy Seals have mulled contingencies ranging from drilling an escape route through the mountain to waiting out the monsoon inside the cave.
Rescue chief Narongsak Osottanakorn on Sunday said four of the team - affectionately dubbed by Thai social media Wild Boars 1,2,3,4 - were "safe" but released few details about their condition or identities.
The dramatic and unsafe rescue at the Tham Luang cave in the northern province of Chiang Rai was launched on Sunday and four boys were brought out that day.
While the four boys who were rescued were found to be in good health, nine other people remain trapped inside, and the rain, which could last days, could not just delay, but set back the rescue operation.
Officials say the quickest time that the boys could be brought out of the cave is 9pm local time (3pm United Kingdom time) on Sunday, and the mission could take up to four days.
He told reporters that four boys were brought out and taken to the hospital in the town of Chiang Rai, the provincial capital, for evaluation, and the next phase of the operation will resume after about 10-20 hours.
In an indication of how risky the journey can be, a former Thai navy diver died in the caves on Friday. Monsoon flooding cut off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for nearly 10 days.
The world has been watching, and an worldwide team of divers and support crews were assembled to aid the rescue. By then, the group had spent 10 days cut off from the outside world.
There were several concerns that prompted authorities to move forward with the plan to dive the boys out.
Rescuers have been working to lower the water level in the cave to prepare for an hours-long mission to retrieve the boys, ages 11 to 16, most of whom can't swim. They have been stuck in the cave since June 23 after heavy rains flooded the Tham Luang Nan Non caves in Chiang Rai, a popular tourist attraction in the region. After an initial assessment at the site, the plan was to airlift the boys to a makeshift helipad close to the Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital, some 70 km away. Getting trained divers in is easier than getting untrained kids out.
The group has received food, blankets and medical treatment as they wait for their rescue. "I can not say when the next phase will be carried out, we have to wait until conditions are like today", he said. He has also thanked worldwide experts who helped find the boys.
Officials told media gathered at the site that the boys and their coach are in strong spirits and determined to get out. Outside the cave, the mother of one of the boys said she was "glad" for a glimpse of her son.
Why it is proving hard to extricate Thai cave boys What next? Workers have been laboring around the clock to pump water out of the cave, and authorities said Monday that heavy downpours overnight did not raise water levels inside.
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