Thailand cave rescue: First boys rescued from trapped soccer team
11 July, 2018, 05:32
Four boys have been rescued after being trapped underground for two weeks in northern Thailand in one of the mostcomplicated rescues the world's best cave divers have seen.
The team of global rescuers prepare to enter the cave in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand on July 5, 2018.
Two of the boys had suspected lung infections but the four boys from the first group rescued were all walking around in hospital.
The young soccer team, whose ages range between 11 and 16, will have to make their way through the cave's flooded tunnel system.
The boys and their coach had been stranded in Tham Luang Nang Non when they went exploring in the cave after a scrimmage. On 23rd June, 12 members of a junior soccer team and their coach visited Tham Luang Cave which is a popular tourist destination in Thailand.
To make matters worse, rescuers are facing a "war with water and time" as unsafe monsoon storms and torrential rainfall could derail the mission.
Rescuers have suggested that it may take up to two days for the rescue to be completed, with each boy being brought out individually.
President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday that US personnel were on the ground at the cave site assisting in the operation.
The world has been watching, and an global team of divers and support crews were assembled to aid the rescue.
ABC News' Matt Gutman reports on the ongoing effort in Thailand to rescue the trapped soccer players and their coach. He said that process can take several hours.
The the next phase in the rescue operation is set for around 1-2pm (NZT) today at the earliest, involving a further three trapped boys, but an update from an Australian reporter at the scene says a downpour in Thailand today is creating concerns.
Thirteen foreign divers and five members of Thailand's elite Navy Seal unit have been tasked with bringing the boys through narrow, submerged passageways.
Thai officials said Saturday they are anxious that heavy monsoon rain could soon make the job even more hard and they may need to quickly rescue the boys and the soccer coach from a partially flooded cave by helping them make risky dives to safety.
He added doctors assessed they were "very fit physically and mentally..." "Finding the boys doesn't mean we've finished our mission".
After a short deluge of rain on Saturday night and with more bad weather forecast, Narongsak on Sunday said authorities had to act immediately.
The key leg of the rescue is taking the boys from where they have been sheltering and through dark, tight and twisting passageways filled with muddy water and strong currents. "We want to evacuate all 13 people as soon as possible but I don't want to specify any day and date", said Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha (above, at right). The boys were dived out from the cave one by one, escorted by two divers at one time.
One of the boys, identified as Tun, wrote: "Mom and Dad, please don't worry, I am fine".
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It is estimated that the boys and their coach are 1.24 miles from the mouth of the cave and about 0.6 miles below the surface. His parents, who along with other families, have maintained a constant vigil at the site since the boys first became trapped.
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