Monday, 24 September, 2018

Rain adds urgency to rescue of last five trapped in Thai cave

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Cary Erickson | 12 July, 2018, 07:57

The 12 boys and coach rescued over the three previous days "took care of themselves well in the cave", Thongchai Lertwilairatanapong, a public health inspector, said at a news conference at the hospital in Chiang Rai city where the group is recovering.

The remaining 100 workers apparently made it out of the cave within an hour, including the last three Thai navy SEALs and a medic - all who had been with the boys for much of the week between them being found and being freed from the cave.

In this photo taken from video released by Thailand government, family members watch the rescued boys through a window at the Chiang Rai hospital in northern Thailand, Wednesday, July 11, 2018.

They are in good physical and mental health, say doctors, despite a harrowing 18 days inside the dank, dark cave before a risky rescue operation that was dubbed "Mission: Impossible".

But the initial euphoria at finding them dissipated as authorities struggled to devise a safe plan to get them out, with the shelf more than four kilometres (2.5 miles) deep inside the cave and the labyrinth of tunnels leading to them filled with water.

The Adelaide doctor was the last man out of the cave after the daring mission.

Some of the rescued boys in hospital.

"The boys were asking for bread with chocolate spread", Jedsada said, adding that the request was granted but they were kept away from spicy food.

Two of the boys possibly have a lung infection but all eight are generally "healthy and smiling", he said.

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Thailand's prime minister said Tuesday that the boys were given anti-anxiety medication, but denied reports they were "sedated".

An additional four boys were brought out on Monday, and the last four boys and the coach were rescued on Tuesday.

They are all likely to stay in hospital for seven days due to their weakened immune systems.

The ups and downs of the rescue bid have entranced Thailand and also fixated a global audience, drawing comments of support from celebrities as varied as US President Donald Trump, football star Lionel Messi and tech guru Elon Musk.

Each of the boys, ages 11 to 16 and with no diving experience, was guided out by divers though rocky, muddy and water passages that in places were just a crawl space.

Parents of the second group of boys, those rescued Monday, will be allowed to make similar visits later today, according to the Health Department's deputy chief.

Dr Harris was supposed to be on holiday at the time of the rescue, but cancelled it to come to the aid of the Wild Boars football team.

Meanwhile, reports say the boys and the coach were sedated to stop them panicking during the unsafe rescue.