Eight Thai boys rescued from cave

Frederick Owens
July 11, 2018

Children look at pictures of students before relatives and friends pray for the 12 schoolboys and their soccer coach trapped inside a flooded cave, at Mesai Grace Church in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand, July 8, 2018.

'A flash flood because of sudden heavy rain locked them in'.

The first four boys, from the group of 13, including the coach, were rescued yesterday.

The second operation started at 11 a.m. local time Monday.

The second phase of the rescue effort began on Monday, hours after the first four were pulled to safety late Sunday.

The four boys rescued Sunday are recovering in a nearby hospital and are yet to see their parents. "We can't visit our boys in hospital because they need to be monitored for 48 hours", Somboon told Reuters.

In a statement released by the government, Mr Paojinda said officials were meeting Monday morning local time about how to extract the remaining nine people from the cave in the country's north. Mr Paojinda said more air canisters were being placed along the underwater route to where the boys and their coach have been trapped for nearly two weeks.

A massive worldwide search operation was launched and it took 10 days to locate the boys, who had taken shelter on a dry slope deep in the complex.

During the hours-long trip out of the cave, each boy was accompanied underwater by two divers helping them navigate the dark, murky water.

Rescuers need to hold the boys' oxygen tanks in front of them and swim pencil-like through submerged holes.

Meanwhile, Thailand's weather department said there was a 60 percent chance of rain on Monday with thunderstorms forecast throughout the week.

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Authorities have said helicopters were ready to take cave evacuees to a hospital.

"They (the four) will be kept away from their parents for a while because we are concerned about infections", Narongsak said.

By Mondayevening, the boys were able to joke, laugh, and have normal conversation, doctors said. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop this morning said lessons from the initial effort would be applied as two more groups of four are brought out of the cave.

"The next step is to make sure those kids and their families are safe because living in a cave has a different environment which might contains animals that could transmit any disease", a hospital statement said.

Thailand Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda said that the boys, who have been hospitalised, were "strong and safe" but needed a medical checkup.

The soccer team seen in the cave last week, before anyone was rescued.

He said the plan is to launch the third rescue mission within 20 hours, and he is hoping for "100 per cent success".

Officials called the four boys who have already been rescued, "hungry, but happy". Two other boys came out at 7:40 p.m. and 7:50 p.m. It was unclear who was inside the ambulance or the helicopter.

The boys have been trapped in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave since June 23 when they and their coach entered and were then cut off by flash flooding. Highlighting the extreme dangers, a former Thai Navy SEAL died Friday while replenishing the oxygen canisters placed along the route to the boys' damp refuge.

The rescued boys had to travel about 2 1/2 miles with oxygen tanks, making their way back to the cave's entrance using a 3-mile rope.

The search and rescue operation has riveted people both in Thailand and internationally, with journalists from across the globe travelling to this town along the border with Myanmar to report on the ordeal.

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