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ibusinesslines.com November 16, 2018


Cave rescue going better than expected - 7/8/2018 9:18:19 AM

11 July 2018, 04:51 | Erica Roy

Cave rescue going better than expected - 7/8/2018 9:18:19 AM

Thai rescue team members walk inside a cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23 in Mae Sai Chiang Rai province northern Thailand

Rescuers in Thailand retrieved four of the 12 boys who have been trapped with their soccer coach in a cave for two weeks in the first phase of an operation that could take days.

The evacuation came several hours after 13 global cave diving experts and five Thai Navy SEALs entered the cave in an attempt to get the boys out one by one as they navigate through flooded and narrow tunnels.

The operation on Monday went more smoothly than on Sunday and took two hours less as the practice became more refined, he said.

Asked how the authorities had decided which boys were to be taken out first, Mr Narongsak said: "Their health".

While the governor would not confirm the identities of the four boys, he said the first one emerged at 5:40 p.m. local time (6.40 a.m. ET), followed by the second boy 10 minutes later.

But monsoon flooding cut their escape and prevented searchers from finding them for 10 days.

Parents of the four boys rescued on Sunday were allowed to see them through a glass window at the hospital, public health officials said on Tuesday, but they will be quarantined for the time being.

Once past that stretch, the boys' escape route forks east at a T-junction, and they must scrabble over some diverse terrain including giant boulders, sand and slippery rocks with sudden cliff-like drops and further submerged passageways.


Eighteen divers - 13 foreigners and five from Thailand's navy Seal unit - went into the cave at 10am (11am Singapore time) yesterday, in a bid to bring the boys out before monsoon rains arrived. General Kongcheep Tantrawanit said, referring to the area where rescue workers had set up a base.

Thai officials said Saturday they are anxious that heavy monsoon rain could soon make the job even more hard and they may need to quickly rescue the boys and the soccer coach from a partially flooded cave by helping them make risky dives to safety.

In a tweet Sunday morning, U.S. President Donald Trump said, "The U.S.is working very closely with the Government of Thailand to help get all of the children out of the cave and to safety". The next phase of the operation is expected to start in 10-20 hours.

"This mission was successful because we had power".

They were followed shortly afterwards by four others, leading to an explosion of jubilation on social media in Thailand and around the world as the rescued boys were rushed to hospital.

The governor in charge of the operation says two divers will accompany each boy as they are gradually extracted.

"Today is D-Day", Narongsak had earlier told reporters. For the last several days, crews have been trying to drain enough water out of the cave to make the rescue easier. After discussions with the team in Thailand, Musk tweeted that SpaceX engineers were eight hours away from completing a submarine that was capable of rescuing the stranded boys.

Mild weather and a break in the rain had lowered the water to the lowest levels since the boys were found. The team is huddled in an enclosed area of the cave, in which oxygen levels are falling, and the incoming rain could end up shrinking the unflooded space to around 100 square feet.



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