Thai Cave Rescue Operation: The narrow cave system is proving to be a challenge for rescuers.
The plight of a Thai football team, trapped in a cave with coach for over two weeks has transfixed the entire world. Rescuers teams have been working round the clock and families camping outside the Tham Luang cave. After rescuers said that perfect conditions for evacuation had come, a rescue mission began on Sunday. So far, four boys have been evacuate from the cave. Rescue workers in Thailand carried the eight out of the cave on Monday, a Reuters witness said. Rescue operations have been halted for the day.
The cave system, bordering Myanmar in northern Thailand, has proven to be an immense challenge for the international rescue coalition. Some of the world's best divers have volunteered to help in the operation alongside Thai Navy SEALs.
Here are the highlights of day two of the Thai Cave rescue ops:
8th boy rescued from Thai cave, operations stopped for the day. 4 boys and coach still to be brought out
Two more people were taken out of the cave as rescue workers in Thailand continue operations from a flooded cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach were trapped for more than two weeks, apparently taking the total number rescued to seven.
Fifth boy from a group of 12 and their soccer coach trapped for more than two weeks in a flooded cave complex, a navy official said, hours after the rescue mission resumed.
Rescue workers in Thailand reported carried a person on a stretcher from a cave into an ambulance, according to a Reuters witness. The person will the fifth to be rescued.
There was no immediate confirmation from authorities that the person on the stretcher was one of the boys trapped in the flooded cave complex but media reported it was.
However Monday's surprisingly quick extraction of the initial batch of four, who were guided out of a network of flooded tunnels by divers, fuelled optimism that the others would also be quickly rescued.
Weather forecasters warned heavy rain could hit the cave area Monday afternoon and continue through the week. Rain could re-flood parts of the cave complex that have been drained and make the escape route much harder or even impossible to navigate.
Rescue workers have however not spoken about how many boys they hoped to bring out on Monday.
"They (the four) are well and happy. This morning they complained that they are hungry and they asked for fried basil with rice," rescue ops chief told media.
Four rescued from Thai cave being kept away from parents due to infection fears, an official said. Doctors will decide on family visits "at a distance or through glass."
"All the equipment is ready. Oxygen bottles are ready... in next few hours we will have good news," Narongsak Osottanakorn, the rescue chief said.
Rescue chief expects 'good news in a few hours' from Thai cave mission : AFP
"At 11 am sent (in) the second operation," Narongsak Osottanakorn said, adding he hopes it will be "quicker" than Sunday's operation which brought out four of the team : AFP
An operation to rescue a group of Thai boys and their soccer coach trapped in a flooded cave resumed on Monday, said several officials with knowledge of the operation : Reuters
The complete rescue mission which involves navigating the complex Tham Luang cave could take three or four days to complete.
Phuket-Based diver Ben Reymenants has also been a part of the rescue operation. Mentioning him in a Facebook post, another diver said: Mahatma Gandhi said "Gentleness, self-sacrifice and generosity are the exclusive possession of no one race or religion" and the quote describe well the Rescue that is undergoing in the Tham Luang cave. Stay safe and Godspeed.
Thailand Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda said the four pulled from the cave "are strong and safe" and in the care of doctors : AFP
Classmates of the Thai boys trapped in the Tham Luang cave pray next to a banner with their pictures
Heavy rain soaked the Tham Luang Cave area in Thailand's northern Chiang Rai province overnight. It is a "war with water and time" to save the boys.
People pray for the boys, as rescue ops resume today
Authorities continued to refuse to release details about the identities or the condition of the four boys who have been rescued. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha told reporters that it was not wise to ask such questions. He is also scheduled to visit the cave site later today.
"It is an extremely risky undertaking," Bill Whitehouse, vice chairman of the British Cave Rescue Council, told AFP, adding "poor visibility in the water, tortuous passages to get through, constrictions" were some of the major obstacles divers face.
A source inside the Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital where the boys are being kept said their condition was "not bad" but said doctors were watching for signs of hypothermia.
None of the boys have scuba diving experience. Experts have warned they could easily panic while swimming underwater in darkness.
White they were in the cave, the boys scribbled heartfelt notes to their parents, expressing hopes of reunion. Their coach had apologized to the parents for agreeing to take the boys to the cave.
There was anticipation about the rescue but there were also challenges
The boys, aged from 11 and 16, have no diving experience and some can not even swim. They have received training in recent days in preparation for the extraction effort, but they will have to swim using scuba gear through fast-flowing water in darkness, a challenge for even elite divers.
The sliver of space is 1.9 kilometres (1.2 miles) from the shelf where the boys have been sheltering above the waters. After energy-sapping efforts navigating jagged tunnels and clambering up or down rock walls for this distance, they will confront Sam Yak.
"The biggest crisis spot for diving is on the left from the T-Junction," said Narongsak Osottanakorn, the rescue mission chief, in a briefing on July 2.
The journey will be a long one. The rescue mission chief, Narongsak Osottanakorn, told reporters on Sunday that the first boy was not expected to emerge until 9pm (1400 GMT) on Sunday. This tallies with previous estimates from officials that it would take the divers five hours to reach the ledge where the team is trapped, and six hours for the journey out.
Rick Stanton, renowned British diver first discovered the 12 children and their football coach trapped in the cave.
Thirteen foreign divers and five members of Thailand's elite navy SEAL unit are the main team guiding the boys to safety through narrow, submerged passageways that claimed the life of a former Thai navy diver on Friday.
Four members of a youth soccer team were rescued Sunday from a cave complex in northern Thailand where they had been stranded for more than two weeks. Rescue operations for the ones still trapped will resume today.