Rescuer says conditions good for extraction

Lester Mason
July 12, 2018

Thai officials said Saturday they are anxious that heavy monsoon rain could soon make the job even more hard and they may need to quickly rescue the boys and the soccer coach from a partially flooded cave by helping them make risky dives to safety.

The earliest the first boys could emerge is 21:00 local time (16:00 GMT) on Sunday, according to officials, who added that both the trapped group and their families had been informed of the plan.

A Thai army commander says the ongoing rescue of 12 boys and their coach could take 2-4 days depending on conditions inside the partially flooded cave.

Thirteen fully staffed medical teams stand ready round the clock outside a cave in Thailand - each with its own helicopter and ambulance - one for each of 12 boys and their coach trapped inside as a daring rescue gathers pace.

They were trapped in the Tham Luan Nang Non cave on June 23, when they were exploring it after a soccer practice and it became flooded by monsoon rains.

Thai Navy SEALS and dozens of volunteer rescue workers have worked around the clock funnelling food and oxygen into the cave and trying to train the soccer team and their coach to dive with heavy scuba gear on their backs.

British divers Richard Stanton and John Volanthen discovered the boys on Monday.

Experienced cave rescue experts consider an underwater escape a last resort, especially with people untrained in diving, as the boys are.

Chiang Rai acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn said that experts told him flooding from new rain could shrink the unflooded space where the boys are sheltering to just 108 square feet.

He said it would then take 17 hours to fly it to Thailand.


President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday: "The U.S.is working very closely with the Government of Thailand to help get all of the children out of the cave and to safety".

Kobchai Boonyaorana, deputy director-general of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department of the Interior Ministry, told reporters today that the water level in the cave had continued to recede, and that rainfall was less than expected.

Conditions are "perfect" to evacuate a young football team from a flooded Thai cave in the coming days, the rescue mission chief said Saturday, although a brief downpour late in the evening underscored the huge threat posed by further monsoon rains.

A Thai governor says the operation to bring out 12 schoolboys and their soccer coach from deep inside a cave where they have been trapped for two weeks has begun. I miss all of you - grandpa, aunty, mum, dad and everyone.

"Don't be anxious", wrote another boy, Mick. "Don't forget to throw my birthday party!"

Thailand's Navy SEALs, who were central to the rescue effort, said on their Facebook page that the remaining four boys and their 25-year-old coach were all brought out safely Tuesday.

Another, identified as Tun, writes: "Mom and Dad, please don't worry, I am fine". I promise I will care for the kids as best as possible.

"Thank you for all the moral support and I apologize to the parents". "I suspect the Thai govt has this under control, but am happy to help if there is a way to do so", he wrote on Twitter.

One particularly touching note from another boy said: "I'm doing fine, but the air is a little cold, but don't worry".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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