Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

Eight boys rescued from flooded Thai caves, now up to 'rain god'

Eight boys rescued from flooded Thai caves, now up to 'rain god'

The anxious families say they have forgiven 25-year-old soccer coach Ekapol Chanthawong who led the boys on what was supposed to be an innocent adventure in cave exploring more than two weeks ago.

A treacherous rescue bid to free a youth football team trapped in a flooded Thai cave entered its second day Monday, with nine of the "Wild Boars" still inside after elite divers guided four out.

The eight boys rescued from a flooded cave in northern Thailand are in "high spirits", a senior health official said Tuesday.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop this morning said lessons from the initial effort would be applied as two more groups of four are brought out of the cave.

While the governor would not confirm the identities of the four boys, he said the first one emerged at 5:40 p.m. local time (6.40 a.m. ET), followed by the second boy 10 minutes later.

Four boys among 12 who were stuck in the flooded cave in Thailand's northern province of Chiang Rai were rescued on Monday, the Thai Navy SEAL said in a Facebook post. Authorities have said extracting the entire team from the cave could take up to four days, but two straight days of success raised hopes that it could be done faster. It is a race against the clock with heavy rain expected in coming days, which would again dangerously flood the tunnels.

DoD Personnel Assist in Thai Cave Rescue Operations
Delight as the first of the trapped Thai boys freed from cave after more than two weeks deep underground. We've set a plan for four but if we want to rescue five, those responsible will have to adjust the plan.

Thailand's health secretary, Dr Jessada Chokedamrongsook, said the group would undergo a series of tests while quarantined in hospital. The Associated Press reports that four ambulances were seen leaving the area near the cave entrance on Monday, with patients taken to waiting helicopters.

Somboon Sompiangjai, 38, the father of one of the trapped boys, said parents were told by rescuers ahead of Sunday's operation the "strongest children" would be brought out first.

The rescue team are facing a race against time to get the remaining boys out before oxygen levels in the cave get even lower and before even more rain falls during the monsoon season, which lasts until October.

Following the successful evacuation on Sunday, rescue personnel assessed their performance and adjusted the plan for Monday, resulting in "a smooth, coordinated operation", deputy commander of the Third Army Maj Gen Chalongchai Chaiyakham told reporters.

A total of eight boys have now been rescued. "We have to quarantine them for a little while due to fear of infection". Relatives were able to see them through a glass partition, Narongsak said. 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.

But the efforts to rescue the boys - aged between 11 and 16 - have proved a monumental challenge.

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Josh Brolin , the man behind the Infinity Gauntlet, ushered in the random banning in a short video of him snapping his fingers . Members of the group were very excited, but also very impatient - especially as the day went on without even a tiny snap .

The rescue team is scrambling to extract all of those stranded before fresh rains complicate the task or cut off access by increasing flooding in the cave.

The death Friday of a former Thai navy SEAL, Saman Gunan, underscored the risks.

"The weather conditions and other environments today are as good as yesterday".

The boys will have to navigate through submerged passageways in some places no more than two feet (0.6 metre) wide.

The boys are being escorted out of the complex cave system via a team of divers.

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