Four Boys Saved From Thai Cave
Posted on 08/07/2018
Other 8 Must Wait Until Rescue Resumes Monday 9th July
CHIANG RAI, Thailand (Reuters) – Four of 12 Thai schoolboys were rescued from a flooded cave on Sunday in a daring and dangerous operation to save the children and their soccer coach who have been trapped underground for more than two weeks.
The operation to rescue the remaining eight boys – some as young as 11 and weak swimmers – and the coach was called off at nightfall until Monday to give the divers time to replenish oxygen supplies and ensure all preparations were complete.
Thirteen foreign divers and five members of Thailand’s elite navy SEAL unit guided the boys to safety through narrow, submerged passageways that claimed the life of a former Thai navy diver on Friday.
“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.
“Today we managed to rescue and send back four children to Chiang Rai Prachanukrua Hospital safely.”
The rescuers needed at least 10 hours to prepare for their next operation, involving about 90 divers in total, 50 of them from foreign countries, he said.
A helicopter flew the four boys to the nearby city of Chiang Rai, where they were taken by ambulance to the hospital.
Their ordeal has drawn huge media attention in Thailand and abroad, and getting the boys out safely could be a boost for Thailand’s junta ahead of a general election next year.
“Today is D-Day,” Narongsak had earlier told reporters.
Bursts of heavy monsoon rain soaked the Tham Luang Cave area in northern Chiang Rai province on Sunday and storms were expected in coming weeks, increasing the risks in what has been called a “war with water and time” to save the team.
“If we wait and the rain comes in the next few days we will be tired again from pumping and our readiness would drop. If that’s the case, then we have to reassess the situation,” he said.
“We can only carry on the operation once we are ready and this will be done soon, because the air tank and other systems have to be reinstalled,” he told reporters later.
“…I can’t give you an exact number but it should be more than 10 hours but not exceeding 20 hours. The conditions must be stable like today before we can continue the operation.”
An Australian doctor checked the health of the boys on Saturday night and gave the all-clear for the operation to proceed.
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