DoD Personnel Assist in Thai Cave Rescue Operations

Clyde Nash
July 10, 2018

The same process was used Sunday for at least one of the four boys rescued in the first attempt at getting the 12 boys and their coach out of the underground cave complex.

Officials lavished praise on the Thai and global divers who, in pairs of two, executed the risky rescue mission, guiding the boys, who could barely swim and had no diving experience, through a treacherous 4-kilometer-long (2 1/2-mile) escape route that twisted and turned through the cavern.

The boys, members of the Wild Boars soccer team, were invited to the World Cup Final in Moscow if they make it out in time and can physically handle the trip.

Narongsak said Monday's rescues involving 18 divers and a support team of 100 had taken nine hours, two fewer than the rescues on Sunday.

The eight boys who were rescued through Monday had to travel about two and a half miles with oxygen tanks and were accompanied by two professional divers each. The boys brought out of the cave Sunday and Monday are being treated in a hospital in Chiang Rai, but are being kept in quarantine for now by doctors concerned that they could contract or spread infection.

The first boy to emerge Monday was seen on a stretcher just before 4:30 p.m. local time (5:30 a.m. ET). Monsoon flooding cut off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for nearly 10 days.

Four boys and the coach are still trapped.

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The four boys pulled from the cave Sunday in an urgent and unsafe operation that involved them diving through the cave's tight and twisting passages were in good health.

The boys, ranging in age from 11-16, have been trapped in the cave system since June 23, after heavy rains flooded the cave system.

In an indication of how unsafe the journey can be, a former Thai navy diver died in the caves on Friday.

Thai soldiers arrive at the Tham Luang cave area as the operations continue for those still trapped inside the cave in Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province on July 9, 2018.

On Sunday, divers held the first four boys close to bring them out, and each had to wear an oxygen mask to enable normal breathing, authorities said.

Thai officials have been tight-lipped about the rescue operation, and would not comment on how many people were removed Monday.

The same 12 divers, including several from the United Kingdom with "expertise in cave diving", conducted Monday's operation, and it was expected to be a quicker rescue than on Sunday as the divers are now familiar with the circumstances. "We should hear good news again", Narongsak said.

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"I think everyone is going to come out safe", Chongpanyanon told The Associated Press.

"So, it's not so much how they'll be feeling in the immediate aftermath - we would expect to see some strong reactions - or not - it depends upon many factors I don't know about". It takes several hours.

The four boys pulled from the cave Sunday were happy and in good health, authorities said.

Weather forecasters warned heavy rain could hit the area through the week. "If that's the case, then we have to reassess the situation", he said.

But then oxygen started running low in the cave, and officials also anxious the little piece of real estate the boys and their coach have could be lost.

Governor of Chiang Rai province, Narongsak Osatanakorn, said: "Today is D-Day".

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Other reports by Info About Network

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