Friday, 16 November, 2018

3rd Thai cave rescue mission underway

Police use umbrellas to cover a stretcher at a military airport in Chiang Rai Image Police use umbrellas to cover a stretcher at a military airport in Chiang Rai
Melinda Barton | 10 July, 2018, 12:29

"The factors are as good as yesterday, and the rescue team is the same team with a few replacements for those exhausted", Narongsak Osatanakorn, the governor of Chiang Rai province who's leading the operation, said Monday, The Guardian reported.

"Today we might have to wait longer, but it will be worth the longer wait", the rescue chief said, per The Australian. It was 10 days before the boys were miraculously located, and the remaining five have been in the cave for eight days. "Everyone is in high spirits and is happy to get out".

A crack team of foreign divers and Thai Navy SEALS guided four boys on Sunday and a further four on Monday through narrow, submerged channels from the muddy bank deep inside the Tham Luang cave where they had been stranded for more than two weeks.

The plight of the boys and their coach has riveted Thailand and much of the world - from the heart-sinking news they were missing to the first flickering video of the huddle of anxious yet smiling boys when they were found 10 days later by a pair of British divers.

Early tests indicate all of the boys could be suffering from lung infections, but only two of the first four boys were confirmed.

"The kids are footballers so they have high immune systems", Jedsada said.

Family members have seen at least some of the boys from behind a glass barrier.

Operations to pump water out of the cave went on despite heavy rain showers on Sunday and Monday. After they were found on July 2, officials cautioned it could take some time to get them out, but authorities made a decision to act with heavy rains forecast to hit the region. He asked for three more days to complete the rescue mission.

The 31cm-wide custom submarine would make the boys passive participants in the rescue and could potentially shorten the journey, which took divers a total of nine hours in the second successful rescue operation on Monday.

The boys, who are aged between 11 and 16 years old, along with their 25-year-old coach Ekkapol Chantawong, went to explore the Tham Luang Nang Non cave after football practice, but did not return home that night.

As an global coalition of divers continued to rescue a Thai soccer team and their coach from a cave Monday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk was trying to help in his own inimitable way.

The tech entrepreneur tweeted Tuesday morning he'd "Just returned from Cave 3", referring to the rescuers' command center inside the sprawling cave. They are all members of a youth soccer team called the Wild Boars.

The urgent and risky effort has involved the boys diving through the cave's tight and twisting passages, guided by experienced divers.

The Associated Press reports that the families of the boys "were being kept at a distance because of fears of infection and the emaciated-looking boys were eating a rice-based porridge because they were still too weak to take regular food, authorities said".