Thai caves latest: Four boys now free, Navy Seals confirm
12 July, 2018, 06:39 | Author: Myra Gill
MAE SAI, Thailand A daring rescue mission in the treacherous confines of a flooded cave in northern Thailand has saved all 12 boys and their soccer coach who were trapped deep within the labyrinth, ending a grueling 18-day ordeal that claimed the life of an experienced volunteer diver and riveted people around the world.
"Now and in the next three or four days, the conditions are flawless [for evacuation] in terms of the water, the weather, and the boys' health", Narongsak Osottanakorn, the chief of the rescue operation, told reporters.
Jedsada Chokdumrongsuk, permanent secretary at the Public Health Ministry, said the first four boys rescued, aged 12 to 16, are now able to eat normal food, though they can not yet take the spicy dishes favoured by many Thais.
Each of the boys will have two divers to help him swim through the muddy, often deep, water with scuba gear.
The Thai Navy Seals posted an image after the rescue operation was announced, showing rescue workers holding each others' arms.
Seven British divers are among a team of 18 who are undertaking the risky operation to free them after their ordeal that began on June 23 before floodwaters made the cave impassible. Rescuers have been delivering food, as well as providing training in how to use diving equipment.
"Today is D-Day", Narongsak Osottanakorn, head of the rescue mission, told reporters. The operation began at 10 a.m. and he said it would take at least 11 hours for the first person to be rescued.
The group had been missing for nine days before they were found huddled inside the cave and survived by drinking water dripping off the stalactites above them. Early on Sunday morning, there were reports that the rescue operation had begun, with the boys about to be led out of the cave network one by one.
MEDIA BRIEFING NOTE Number 12 - 9 July 2018Further progress on the rescue operation to bring the boys out of Tham...
Conditions are "perfect" to evacuate a young football team from a flooded Thai cave in the coming days, the rescue mission chief said Saturday, although a brief downpour late in the evening underscored the huge threat posed by further monsoon rains. "Construction complete in about 8 hours, then 17 hour flight to Thailand", Musk tweeted just before noon, California time. The route is complicated by twists and turns in narrow flooded passages. "I miss everyone. Grandpa, Uncle, Mom, Dad and siblings, I love you all. Love you all", a boy whose nickname is Mick wrote with a pencil on a piece of paper.
Thailand's Navy SEALs, who were central to the rescue effort, said on their Facebook page that the remaining four boys and their 25-year-old coach were all brought out safely Tuesday.
"I'm fine", wrote another one. I'm happy being here inside, the navy SEALS have taken good care. Musk tweeted about the possible path to rescue the kids and their coach. "Although, don't forget to set up my birthday party". "I want to say thanks for all the support and I want to apologize to the parents", he wrote.
"Night loves Dad and Mom and brother, don't worry about me".
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