Thai cave rescue: Day three of operation begins

10 July, 2018, 11:57 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Thai boys trapped in cave

Four ambulances and a convoy of other vehicles arrived at the cave site Tuesday morning (local time) as rains hit the region.

While the first group to be rescued has been reunited with their parents, officials said they had to meet from a distance ― "through glass".

Monday's rescue effort took about nine hours, two fewer than the day before, in a sign of growing confidence and expertise.

A cave diver and anaesthetist, Richard Harris, 53, from Adelaide, examined the boys and recommended that the authorities reverse an original plan to start the rescue with the strongest boys.

The billionaire Tesla chief has visited the Tham Luang cave to drop off a miniature submarine he hoped might help with the ongoing rescue operation of the Wild Boar soccer team.

Thai Navy Sgt. Saman Kunan, an ex-SEAL, died Friday from a lack of oxygen as he attempted to place air tanks inside the cave complex. The group had gone for a trek when heavy rains trapped them in a dark, cramped chamber 2.5 miles inside in the Tham Luang Cave system.

Alluding to that worry, the regional army commander offered his thanks on Monday to the rain god Phra Pirun, imploring him to "keep showing us mercy". "Hopefully", he added, "in the long term, they'll also come away with new strengths that they never had before".

"I feel very happy, everybody is happy", said Hnin Jaiwong, the mother of one of the trapped boys, 13-year-old Sompong Jaiwong. "So I've been asking for three days". 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.

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But with oxygen levels inside dropping to risky lows and the prospect of heavy rains flooding the area completely, authorities decided they had to move quickly, and take the group out through the water-filled tunnels. The teams have risked their lives to deliver supplies and food to the children and their coach, and divers have been teaching the boys ― some of whom don't even know how to swim ― diving and breathing techniques to prepare them for their harrowing journey home. Their friends were full of optimism - and worry.

"If everything goes right, we will see four kids and a doctor and three Seals that have stayed with the kids will all come out", he said.

"Even when my friends have left the cave, I'm anxious about their physical well-being".

At the Mae Sai Prasitsart school, where six of the 12 boys studied, the principal and teachers said they promised to give the boys a lighter homework load once they are back in class.

The rescued boys were taken to the nearby city of Chiang Rai for hospital treatment. The fate of the boys and their coach has gripped Thailand and drawn global media attention. The acting governor of Chiang Rai state, Narongsak Osatanakorn, said that divers are unsure whether all five can be rescued in one or more missions.

Rescue workers at the cave complex, seen late Sunday. More worrying, however, oxygen levels in the cave were falling.

Another four boys were rescued Monday.

A crack team of foreign divers and Thai Navy SEALS guided the boys during a nine-hour operation through almost 4 km (2.5 miles) of sometimes submerged, pitch-dark channels from where they have been trapped for more than a fortnight.

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