Saturday, 21 July, 2018

Thai cave rescue: Rescued boys isolated from parents as four more saved

People watch an ambulance understood to be carrying some of the rescued boys leaving the military airport in Chiang Rai to a nearby hospital Thai cave rescue: Elon Musk sends tiny submarine, but may be too late
Celia Hoffman | 10 July, 2018, 09:27

Look inside the Tham Luang Cave area in northern Chiang Rai province of Thailand to see the hard task of saving the trapped 12 boys and their football coach.

At a news conference, Jedsada Chokdumrongsuk, permanent secretary at the Public Health Ministry, said the first four boys rescued, aged 12 to 16, are now able to eat normal food, though they can't yet take the spicy food favoured by many Thais.

Thai officials estimated the rescue operation would take 10 hours and end by 9 p.m. on Monday.

Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda also said the boys were in good health. Rescue operations have halted for the night and will restart on Tuesday.

"They need to undergo more medical tests", he told reporters yesterday.

The first four rescued boys have been placed in a ward set aside specifically for the cave rescue operation after being rushed from the cave by military helicopter, a source at the hospital said.

In total, 13 foreign cave divers and five Thai navy SEALs participated in Sunday's rescue, according to Reuters.

A crack team of foreign divers and Thai Navy SEALs guided the boys during a nine-hour operation through almost 4 km (2.5 miles) of sometimes submerged channels from where they have been trapped for more than a fortnight.

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The youngest child, Chanin Wiboonrunreung, and 25-year-old football coach Ekaphol Chantawong, are still inside.

The boys brought out of the dark, winding cave on Monday are "safe and conscious", said Chiang Rai province acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn, who is in charge of the rescue effort.

At the hospital in Chiang Rai, green canvas sheets had been put up to block the entrance from view.

For the final operation tomorrow, Mr Narongsak said the rescuers would use the same plan with some adjustments because the number of survivors to be extracted would be five instead of four as was the case for the last two days.

"I am very happy about those who already made it out and I think everyone will be out today", said Waranchit Karnkaew, 14, who also said the football-mad boys had been closely following games at the World Cup in Russian Federation before they were trapped. They were accompanied by two professional divers each throughout. Last week, a former Thai navy diver died while preparing for the operation. Add Thailand Cave Rescue as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Thailand Cave Rescue news, video, and analysis from ABC News.

The British Cave Rescue Council (BCRC) confirmed that seven divers from the United Kingdom with "expertise in cave diving" are assisting. However, they ended up starting the rescue effort a few hours earlier than planned.

More worrying, however, oxygen levels in the chamber where the boys sought refuge were falling.

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