Rescue Operation To Save The Thai Football Team Is Underway

Ruben Hill
July 9, 2018

The operation to rescue 12 boys and their coach from a flooded cave in Thailand kicked off early on Sunday, a couple hours after Musk had predicted his project would be complete and nearly a day earlier than he said he would be able to bring the sub to Thailand.

Authorities in northern Chiang Rai province began the unsafe mission to bring out the 12 boys and their coach earlier on Sunday. Heavy rains in the area overnight had eased by Monday morning.

Four of the boys were rescued on Sunday, and authorities said the next phase could begin any time within a 10-hour window that began about 7 a.m. Monday.

The governor said the first of the boys could emerge as early as 9pm local time on Sunday (midnight AEST), but warned the operation could stop at any time depending on conditions.

The four who were rescued were taken to a hospital in Chiang Rai for evaluation. Somboon Sompiangjai, 38, the father of one of the trapped boys, said parents were told by rescuers ahead of Sunday's operation the "strongest children" would be brought out first.

The rescued boys were fitted with full-face masks for oxygen and had to travel more than a half-mile underwater in the struggle to reach safety along the 2.4-mile escape route, the governor said.

An official reportedly told a Thai TV station on Monday morning that they didn't want to name the boys because "they're afraid it will affect the parents of kids who still remain inside".

"Hopefully useful", he said in one tweet.

Multiple sources with knowledge of the operation told Reuters the operation to rescue more of the nine boys and their coach was underway, although no official confirmation was issued.

Rescue divers found the 12 teenage soccer players and their coach alive on July 3 after they went missing in a Thai cave 10 days earlier.

Rescuers woke to gloomy skies and potential thunderstorms following a night of heavy monsoonal rains lashing the mountainous region.

The rescue team leader said that, in some of the larger caverns, extensive pumping had reduced water levels so that they were now walkable, even with the onset of fresh monsoon rain on Sunday. The boys were transferred by helicopter and ambulance to a hospital where they are being treated, but officials did not disclose details of their condition.

Water levels inside the massive Tham Luang cave complex in northern Chiang Rai province dropped by around a foot on Saturday and are at their lowest levels since the team became trapped June 23.

"They are all of our students, all of our friends, all of our children", she said. Last week, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk offered his support by promising to have a "kid-size submarine" built - and he came through with the help of engineers in his employ.

Getting out would require waiting several weeks for the water level to drop, or swimming back to the entrance. I'm happy being here inside, the navy SEALs have taken good care. "Although, don't forget to set up my birthday party".

On Sunday night, Thai navy SEALs posted a celebratory note on their Facebook page, saying: "Have sweet dreams everyone". In a letter of his own, the coach, Ekapol Chanthawong, apologized to the boys' parents for the ordeal. "I can help him with his homework", he said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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