Hopes high 4 boys, coach will be freed from cave Tuesday

Divers who have descended into a flooded cave in northern Thailand plan to rescue the four remaining boys and their soccer coach in a third and final mission Tuesday, the mission’s rescue commander said.

 

Nineteen divers entered the cave at 10 a.m. local time (11 p.m. Monday ET) and will navigate the tunnels to bring out five members of the Wild Boar soccer team, as well as four experts who have been by their side more or less constantly since they were found early last week.
“I hope all four kids… the coach, and the doctor and three SEALs will be all out today,” Former Chiang Rai governor and rescue mission commander Narongsak Osotthanakorn told reporters Tuesday.
Eight of the 12 boys trapped within the flooded cave were taken out during the first two days of rescue operations. They’re now recovering in hospital and are said to be “healthy.”
The boys were exploring the caves on June 23 with their coach when they were trapped inside by heavy seasonal rains. After they were found on July 2, officials cautioned it could take some time to get them out, but with heavy rain forecast to hit the region authorities decided to act.
Tuesday’s operation, which will see double the number of people come out of the cave, is expected to take longer than the two previous days’ operations, according to the Facebook page of the Royal Thai Navy SEALs.
“Today is 10 July. It will be longer than previous ones,” the post says in Thai and English. “We will celebrate together finally. Hooyah!”

Rescued boys recovering in hospital

More details emerged Tuesday about the ages and condition of the children already freed from the cave.
All eight boys are being treated in an isolation ward in a Chiang Rai hospital. Medical officials told reporters that they’re healthy, fever-free, mentally fit and “seem to be in high spirits.”
Dr. Jedsada Chokedamrongsook, the permanent secretary of the Thai Health Ministry, said the first group of boys taken out on Sunday were aged 14 to 16. Their body temperatures were very low when they emerged, and two are suspected of having lung inflammation.
Families of the first four have been able to see their children through a glass window, Chokedamrongsook said. They were also able to talk on the phone. They’ll be allowed to enter the room if tests show the boys are free of infection.

Rescued boys recovering in hospital

More details emerged Tuesday about the ages and condition of the children already freed from the cave.
All eight boys are being treated in an isolation ward in a Chiang Rai hospital. Medical officials told reporters that they’re healthy, fever-free, mentally fit and “seem to be in high spirits.”
Dr. Jedsada Chokedamrongsook, the permanent secretary of the Thai Health Ministry, said the first group of boys taken out on Sunday were aged 14 to 16. Their body temperatures were very low when they emerged, and two are suspected of having lung inflammation.
Families of the first four have been able to see their children through a glass window, Chokedamrongsook said. They were also able to talk on the phone. They’ll be allowed to enter the room if tests show the boys are free of infection.

Treacherous conditions

 

Divers involved in the rescue described treacherous conditions, with fast-moving shallow water passing through very narrow passages.
“This is the hardest mission we’ve ever done. The lower the water is getting, the stronger the current. It’s stronger now. Every step of the extraction is risky,” said Narongsuk Keasub, a diver for the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand.
He’s one of a group of divers whose job is to transport air tanks into the tunnels for the SEAL teams. He told CNN rescuers face a number of challenges.
“We can only see our hands (at a) short distance. Secondly, the stones are razor sharp which is dangerous for our diving, (and) thirdly the passage is very narrow,” he said.
The diver said that the fate of the boys is weighing on the teams’ minds, and that they can’t help but think of their own children.
“I’m quite emotional as a father — everybody has this feeling because we feel like it’s our children who are inside the cave. Everyone is still worried — will they get out? Will they be sick? We are just praying for them to have a safe return.”
The divers told CNN that they can’t wait for the moment when they know all of the boys are out.

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