Rescue efforts for boys trapped in Thai cave begin

Rescue efforts for boys trapped in Thai cave begin

They boys were evacuated by helicopter and immediately taken to hospital in Chiang Rai province.

At the time Trump tweeted reports indicated that four to six of the boys had been rescued from the cave. Operation chief Narongsak Osottanakorn said a total of 90 divers would be involved in the rescue mission, with 40 divers from Thailand, and 50 from overseas, including the United States, Australia, China, and Europe, according to the Washington Post.

Rescuing them all could take three to four days and depended on the weather, an army commander involved in the mission said.

Thai police officers stand guard at the blocking area in front of the oxygen tanks on a vehicle during rescue operations to save a soccer team at Tham Luang cave in Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park, Chiang Rai province, Thailand.

The death of a former Thai Navy SEAL diver who ran out of oxygen in the cave last week underscored the danger of the journey even for adept professionals. The boys, although skinny, have been described as in good health.

In a letter of his own, coach Ekapol Chanthawong apologized to the boys' parents for the ordeal.

Rescue chief Narongsak Osottanakorn told journalists near the Tham Luang cave site: "Today is the D-day".

The rescue teams had rehearsed the plan for several days, Mr Narongsak said, and had managed to drain the water level in the cave considerably but needed to move fast.

The boys were each being led by two divers as they went through 4km of pitch darkness, trudged through thick mud, clambered over slippery jagged rocks and dived through narrow passageways swirling with cold, strong currents.


In a statement released late Sunday afternoon, Chiang Rai acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn says "divers will work with medics in the cave to assess the boys' health before determining who will come out first".

Authorities have not confirmed the identity of the rescued boys.

"It has been raining incredibly heavy, we've had these huge monsoonal rains that have hit overnight", Channel Nine's Alice Monfries said this morning.

The four boys were among 12 members of the Wild Boars team, ages 11-16, who ventured deep into the cave along with their 25-year-old coach on June 23. Rescue teams have made the pause to replace the air tanks. Monsoon flooding cut off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for nearly 10 days.

An ambulance carries one of the boys rescued from Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Thailand. Authorities have brought the group high-protein gels and supplies to last for four months and have been trying to install a phone line.

The operation was launched at 10 am local time (0400 CET) on Sunday and involves 13 foreign divers and 5 Thai navy SEALs. Other divers were on guard along the risky first kilometer of the passageway.

More rain is expected in the coming weeks.

But with some of them unable to swim and having no diving experience, Mr Narongsak had previously dubbed the rescue effort "Mission Impossible".

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