Published: Tue, July 10, 2018
Medical | By Marta Holmes

Rain adds urgency to rescue of last five trapped in Thai cave


Twelve young boys and their soccer coach were trapped in a cave in northern Thailand by floodwaters more than two weeks ago.

"We are so happy that today we could rescue another four kids", Narongsak Osatanakorn, the head of the joint command centre coordinating the operation, announced at a press briefing on Monday evening.

Before resuming the rescue Monday, officials said they hoped to free all the boys by the end of the day, according to ABC News.

Nargonsak said this phase may take longer than the previous two rescue missions, which took up to 11 hours.

Importantly, as of the time of this writing, eight of the 13 trapped people have already been saved by the heroic actions of rescue divers and support teams.

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The search and rescue operation has riveted people in Thailand and internationally, with journalists from across the globe traveling to this town along the border with Myanmar to report on the ordeal.

They are still being quarantined from their parents because of the risk of infection and would likely be kept in hospital for a week to undergo tests, officials said.

The first four rescued boys have been placed in a ward set aside specifically for the cave rescue operation after being rushed from the cave by military helicopter, a source at the hospital said.

The Thai rescue team members walk inside a cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23.

A total of eight boys have now been brought out of the cave complex.

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Heavy monsoon rains lashed the mountainous Chiang Rai region, where the Tham Luang Nang Non cave is situated, for several hours overnight on Sunday.

"All eight are in good health, no fever. everyone is in a good mental state", Jesada Chokedamrongsuk, permanent secretary of the public health ministry, told reporters on Tuesday at Chiang Rai hospital in the clearest update on their condition so far.

For the final operation tomorrow, Mr Narongsak said the rescuers would use the same plan with some adjustments because the number of survivors to be extracted would be five instead of four as was the case for the last two days.

Monday's mission involved 18 divers from Thailand and overseas. They were accompanied by two professional divers each throughout.

The death of a former Thai Navy SEAL diver who ran out of oxygen in the cave on Friday underscored the danger of the journey even for professionals. Add Thailand Cave Rescue as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Thailand Cave Rescue news, video, and analysis from ABC News.

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Dozens of foreign divers and other experts from around the world were brought in to help the rescue effort, working alongside Thai Navy SEALs. More worrying, however, oxygen levels in the cave were falling.

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