Sixth boy out of Thai cave, officials vow to ‘speed up’ operation

Florence Fletcher
July 10, 2018

At least four members of a youth soccer team trapped in a cave for more than two weeks have emerged, but the next phase of the rescue operation won't begin for another 10-20 hours.

Having completed this section, the boys are then handed over to separate, specialist rescue teams, who help assist them through the remainder of the cave, much of which they can wade through.

The condition of the boys and rescuers is unknown at this time.

Meanwhile, a letter of apology from the coach of the football team was delivered to the boys' parents via the cave divers.

Experienced cave rescue experts consider an underwater escape a last resort, especially with people untrained in diving, as the boys are.

Authorities spent hours replenishing air tanks along the cave's treacherous exit route.

The team of 12 boys and their coach entered the cave system on June 23, but torrential rain caused the water level within the cave to rise rapidly, forcing them to venture deeper.

Rescuers chose to go ahead with the operation to free them because of fears that waters would rise again.

The four boys guided from the cave Sunday in an urgent and risky operation that involved them diving through the cave's dark, tight and twisting passages were happy and in good health, authorities said. The device could be used to rescue one boy at a time as it has space to fit in one person with his arms crossed, he said. "But they still need to be kept away from their parents and others due to fear about infection", he said.

When asked if the four boys rescued on Sunday had eaten pad grapao, the Thai meat basil dish they'd been clamoring for, Osatanakorn said no, but that they were "fine" and could eat other normal foods, like porridge, according to the Guardian.

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"The fact that it took so many hours underscores how precarious this whole mission is", she said.

Also a doctor who works with South Australia's MedStar emergency response group, 53-year-old Harris has 30 years of cave diving experience. They were accompanied by two professional divers each throughout.

The toughest part is about halfway out at a section named "T-Junction", which is so tight the divers have to take off their air tanks to get through.

Chamber 3 is the operational base for rescuers inside the cave.

"So even in the middle of the summer, if 12 boys walked into a cave like that (in Minnesota) the hypothermia would get them pretty quick".

The foursome were taken to Prachanukroh hospital in Chiang Mai province, northern Thailand, where they have undergone a number of tests, x-rays and health checks.

On July 6th, former Thai Navy diver, Petty Officer Saman Gunan died while helping deliver oxygen to the team.

The oxygen ports and nose cone fitted to the device would prevent damages when it comes in contact with rocks, he said.

After losing consciousness and being pulled from the cave by colleagues he could not be revived. Cave exploring is something they usually do after practices, but this excursion proved costly after they were trapped by the heavy rains.

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