Saturday, 20 July, 2019

4 rescued from Thai cave in risky operation; 9 remain inside

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Deanna Wagner | 11 July, 2018, 04:45

The entire group had been trapped for more than two weeks.

Plans called for the healthiest boys to be rescued first, and Narongsak has repeatedly said the overall health of the boys was good.

Musk said based on "feedback from Thailand", the engineers built the metallic pod using a large silver tube meant to be affixed to a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

"(The rescues) have raised the hopes of those watching this very closely, very nervously - and of course the relatives of those trapped".

"Will continue testing in LA in case needed later or somewhere else in the future", he wrote.

Junta chairman Prayuth Chan-ocha said Monday he doesn't know when the rest of the youth football team trapped inside a Chiang Rai cave will be rescued.

Four boys were recently brought out of the cave and transported to a hospital. Their condition was not immediately clear.

In an global rescue mission that has gripped the entire world, at least four members of a boys' soccer team were freed on Sunday from a cave in northern Thailand where they had been trapped for more than two weeks.

The hordes of global and local media have been kept back from the cave and the hospital in Chiang Rai where the boys are believed to be under observation.

The operation began just hours after the group was reported missing but the heavy rains slowed down the search.

The twelve boys and their coach were discovered four kilometers into the cave complex by two British divers on July 2, nine days after they abandoned their bicycles and ventured inside only to become trapped by flood water.

Their disappearance triggered a massive global search and rescue operation involving officials, soldiers and volunteers from the United States, Britain, Australia, Germany, Japan and China, among others. The Thai navy confirmed to the Guardian that the first two boys were freed late on Sunday afternoon and then airlifted to Chiang Rai city, which is about 50 miles from the cave.

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"The boys were wearing full-face masks and were able to breathe normally during the operation", he added. "Based on the complexity and difficulty of the cave environment it is unknown how long it might take and how many children would exit the cave". The ordeal has riveted Thailand and made global headlines, and the search and rescue operation has involved worldwide experts and rescuers. Trips from the entrance to where the team is trapped and back to the entrance take about 11 hours.

"We need to refill", Mr Narongsak said.

The staff of the emergency services in Thailand was pulled from the caves of Tham Luang young players of the football team.

As the second phase of the operation got underway on Monday night (AEST), the region's acting governor admitted they were "afraid of the rain".

He said all the boys were in good condition. But authorities became anxious in recent days as oxygen levels inside the cave dropped due to a high presence of rescue workers.

"Today was the best day, the best situation in terms of the weather, the health of the boys, our water management for our rescue effort", the head of the rescue operation, Narongsak Osottanakorn, told a news conference.

At 10 a.m. local time, 10 divers headed to chamber 9 where the boys are located and the others will remain along the route. Mr Narongsak would not say which of the boys were rescued. Thirty-five emergency doctors were on standby as the "exhausted" boys were flown by military helicopter or driven in ambulances to Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital.

A frantic rescue mission was hatched in the week since they were found.

The high-risk rescue dive began with a sense of urgency after authorities could not settle on an alternative means of bringing the boys out.

The operation paused Sunday evening so that rescue teams could refresh the supply of oxygen tanks that have been placed along the escape route inside the cave, Narongsak said.

Authorities did not reveal the identity of the boys as they were brought out. Officials feared that an incoming storm could send water flooding back into the cave and make an escape even more hard for the boys, ages 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach.

Cave rescue experts have said they consider an underwater escape to be a last resort, especially with people untrained in diving.