Thai cave rescue: Good conditions for extracting trapped boys, soccer coach


Authorities undertook the risky mission to rescue 12 Thai schoolboys and their soccer coach trapped inside a flooded cave on Sunday and authorities said the entire task may take three-four days to complete.

As of Sunday, four boys were confirmed rescued from the cave, before the mission was paused, according to the BBC.

Duncan Forgan of NBC News reported the rescue operation to free the eight remaining players and their coach is ongoing, while those evacuated from the cave were transported to medical facilities.

The group of boys along with their 25-year-old coach entered the cave on June 23, but became trapped due to unexpected rising water.

The cave is a karstic cave complex under the Doi Nang Non mountain range that lies on the border between Thailand and Myanmar.

"What we have today is the best situation", Narongsak told reporters from across the world who were gathered at the Pong Pha sub-district administration office opposite the Tham Luang Forest Park.

A total of 18 expert divers - 13 global and five Thai - were proceeding deep into the hillside through the waterlogged passages to the chamber where the team is located.

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Rescuers have begun an operation to bring the 12 trapped children and their football coach out of the Tham Luang caves. He said the operation started at 10 a.m. local time, that it would take about 11 hours to remove the first boy from the cave and that two divers would accompany each boy. Completing the mission could take up to 3 or 4 days, depending on the weather, rescue operators told Reuters.

He added that the boys had all been assessed by a doctor and were "very fit physically and mentally".

The identity of the first boys is unknown, as if whether any more are following soon.

The head of the rescue mission, Narongsak Osottanakorn, suggested earlier in the weekend that the boys were not ready to make the trip, but later on Saturday said there was a window of opportunity to try ahead of looming monsoon rains.

Many have praised him following reports that he gave his share of food to the kids before they were located, and helped them get through nine days in the darkness.

Mild weather and falling water levels over the past few days had created optimal conditions for an underwater evacuation that won't last if it rains again, Narongsak had said. One boy's note said: "I'm doing fine, but the air is a little cold, but don't worry".