Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Operation Resumes to Rescue Boys Trapped in Flooded Thai Cave

Operation Resumes to Rescue Boys Trapped in Flooded Thai Cave

The boys are said to be generally in good health but doctors are still evaluating whether they could have picked up any unsafe infections, such as the potentially lethal leptospirosis, while inside the damp cave for two weeks.

"Hooyah", the Thai Navy SEALS wrote on their Facebook page Monday, referring to the boys' soccer team, the Wild Boars.

Health experts also say the lack of sunlight and being in a confined space for more than two weeks can take a toll on them both physically and mentally.

That brings to three the number of ambulances that have left the site Monday during the second day of a high-risk operation to bring the boys out of a labyrinth cave system made up of tight passageways and flooded chambers.

Eight of the 12 boys trapped with their soccer coach in a labyrinthine flooded cave complex in northern Thailand have been freed, authorities said on Monday, adding that the time for rescuing the others will depend on the weather.

The extraction of the four on Monday followed a similar pattern to the previous day, with the youngsters emerging in quick succession just before nightfall after navigating a treacherous escape route of more than four kilometres (2.5 miles) that included extremely narrow and flooded tunnels.

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

Rescuers are racing to beat the next downpour, which could further complicate efforts to remove the boys, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach.

The trapped boys have been divided into groups. The Associated Press reports that four ambulances were seen leaving the area near the cave entrance on Monday, with patients taken to waiting helicopters.

Officials said on Sunday that it may "take days" to rescue all 12 boys and their coach.

Thai authorities said the parents of the four rescued boys are still being kept from physical contact with them due to fear of infections.

Five boys have been rescued till now, and divers are continuing with the rescue operations.

However, many have been asking the very reasonable question of why the boys were in the cave in the first place?

Ivan Karadzic, a Danish dive instructor who lives in Thailand and who was involved in the rescue effort of the four people on Sunday as a support diver, said late that night that "it went surprisingly well, we were expecting bad things to happen, and they didn't".

But four boys had emerged by 8 p.m., quite a bit ahead of schedule - and all the more remarkable because the boys are novice swimmers, with no diving experience. A retired Thai Navy SEAL assisting with the operation died Friday after running out of oxygen, underlining the danger of the rescue.

"We've been working continuously overnight", a Chiang Rai government source told AFP on Monday morning, requesting anonymity, and confirming that there had only been a pause of the actual extraction operations.

"I'm hoping for good news today", he said. Kanet said the boys will be treated as disaster victims and given psychological evaluations and other assistance after their ordeal.

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