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Rescue operation suspended after 8th boy freed from Thai cave
11 July 2018, 10:31 | Erica Roy
Second day of Thailand cave rescue
Divers who extracted four Thai boys from a cave, resumed the rescue operation on Monday for eight remaining schoolboys and their football coach trapped in a waterlogged cave in northern Chiang Rai province, a senior official said.
Authorities have said extracting the entire team from the cave could take up to four days, but Sunday's success raised hopes that it could be done faster. Previously, round trips through the cave network would take about 11 hours.
The submarine is small and light enough to be carried by two divers, and can navigate through the narrow submerged areas in the cave, which is said to be the biggest challenge in rescuing the children trapped in the cave. On Monday night, Musk posted on Twitter that he had "just returned' from the still-flooded cave, with photos of the rescue site where a team of swelling worldwide experts have been working around the clock since the team was found". All but the last of the boys rescued today have reached the top provincial hospital 60 kilometers away.
The officials have been fixated on the crisis, hoping desperately for the safe return of the 12 boys and their 25-year-old football coach, after they ventured into the Tham Luang cave complex after practice and became trapped by rising waters more than a fortnight ago.
Each boy is being accompanied by two divers and it takes several hours to negotiate the flooded tunnels through the dark, murky water.
Still, for the relatives of the Wild Boar team members, an agonising wait continued.
Among the ideas were drilling an escape route through the mountain, and leaving them for months until the monsoon season ended and the flooding subsided. Monsoon flooding blocked off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for nearly 10 days.
The rescue has been underway ever since and eight of the boys are now out thanks to a team of expert divers.
The perilous rescues have involved two divers accompanying each boy, all of whom have been learning to dive since July 2, when searchers found them.
The boys who were rescued on Sunday were strong and safe but needed to undergo detailed medical checks, he said. Working directly to guide the boys out are 13 expert foreign divers and five Thai Navy SEALs.
Four ambulances and a convoy of other vehicles arrived at the cave site Tuesday morning as rains hit the region.
Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda told reporters the four boys rescued on Sunday were in good health in hospital but did not give details.
Though it rained again Sunday, it did not affect the water levels in the cave, said Narongsak Osatanakorn, the leader of the command center in charge of the rescue operation.
There was no word on the condition of any of the people brought out on Monday. On Sunday, four boys were safely evacuated from the cave. The most risky part is the first kilometer, during which the divers and boys are required to squeeze through a narrow, flooded channel.
The rescued kids are now in the hospital, where they should receive the proper care before being released to their families.
"This morning they said they were hungry and wanted to eat khao pad grapao", Narongsak said referring to a Thai dish of meat fried with chilli and basil and served over rice. More than 1000 journalists from across the world have descended on northern Thailand to report the story. "We can't visit our boys in hospital because they need to be monitored for 48 hours", Somboon told Reuters.
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