Daring mission under way to rescue Thai boys from flooded cave

Daring mission under way to rescue Thai boys from flooded cave

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A dangerous mission to rescue 12 Thai schoolboys and their soccer coach trapped inside a flooded cave for more than two weeks began on July 8 and authorities said the first survivor may emerge in the evening.
Thirteen foreign divers and five members of Thailand’s elite navy SEAL unit are trying to bring the boys — some as young as 11 and weak swimmers through narrow, submerged passageways that claimed the life of a former Thai navy diver on July 6.“Today is D-Day,” Narongsak Osottanakorn, head of the rescue mission, told reporters. “At 10 a.m. today (8.30 a.m. IST) 13 foreign divers went in to extract the children along with five Thai navy SEALs”.He said the first boys — who have spent 15 nights huddled on a muddy bank some 4 km inside the cave — could emerge around 9 p.m. local time (7.30 p.m. IST).
Bursts of heavy monsoon rain soaked the Tham Luang Cave area in northern Chiang Rai Province on July 8 and storms were expected in the coming weeks, increasing the risks in what has been called a “war with water and time” to save the team.The boys, aged between 11 and 16, went missing with their 25-year-old coach after soccer practice on June 23, setting out on an adventure to explore the cave complex near the border with Myanmar and celebrate a boy’s birthday.Rescuing them all could take three to four days and depended on the weather, an Army commander involved in the mission said.The rescue teams had rehearsed the plan for several days, Mr. Narongsak said, and had managed to drain the water level in the cave considerably, but needed to move fast.“If we wait and the rain comes in the next few days we will be tired again from pumping and our readiness would drop. If that’s the case, then we have to reassess the situation,” he said.An Australian doctor who is part of the rescue mission checked the health of the boys on the night of July 7 and gave the all-clear for the operation to proceed.