Published: Tue, July 10, 2018
Sports | By Sarah Myers

Four Thai boys rescued as divers brace for next phase

Four Thai boys rescued as divers brace for next phase

The second phase of a rescue operation has ended for the day, with more than half of the Thai soccer team rescued from the cave.

Four boys and their 25-year-old soccer coach still remain trapped underground as an worldwide effort of volunteer divers and elite Thai Navy Seals shuttle back and forth to bring them to safety.

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.

The boys, who are in the Wild Boars soccer team, have captured hearts around the world as images of their smiling faces emerged from within the cave as they fought for their lives.

The rescue teams needed about 10 hours to prepare for their next operation, involving about 90 divers in total, 50 of them from foreign countries, he said. The operation began at around 11 a.m. local time on Monday and is expected to finish for the day around 9 p.m, reported the BBC.

But with oxygen levels inside dropping to unsafe 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 health of the four boys and their football coach is said to be good as they ready to be guided through the narrow flooded passages of the complex. First of all, four of the boys were successfully extracted from the cave system.

Workers have been laboring around the clock to pump water out of the cave, and officials said Monday that despite heavy downpours overnight, water levels inside the cave did not rise. Seven boys remain trapped inside with their coach.

The boys smile as a Thai Navy Seal medic help injured children inside a cave in Mae Sai, northern Thailand. "We can't visit our boys in hospital because they need to be monitored for 48 hours", Somboon told Reuters.

Ambulances transport boys rescued from Tham Luang Nang Non cave to hospital on July 8, 2018 in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

The four boys who were rescued on Sunday appeared to be in good health, Thai officials said, but were undergoing a battery of medical tests in the hospital to ensure they were free from disease and infection.

He added that the divers were the "same multinational team" that rescued the four boys on Sunday. He said rescuers told the parents that the "strongest children" would be brought out first. "We hope for good news in the next few hours", Mr Narongsak said at about 3pm.

Rescuers have been navigating a risky and complicated plan to get the children out under the threat of heavy rain and rising water underground.

He also tweeted that SpaceX and Boring Co. engineers were headed to Thailand to see whether they could assist Thai authorities.

The hazardous bid to rescue the boys - aged between 11 and 16 - started unexpectedly on Sunday when the rescue team said conditions were ideal for the evacuation.

Divers have gone in for the second rescue attempt, Thai officials said.

"We have more expertise than yesterday", he said.

Who are the boys and their coach?

12 young children and their football coach have been stuck in a partially flooded cave in Thailand's Chiang Rai province since June 23rd, and they're beginning to run out of oxygen.

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