Rescuers begin 'challenging' final push to free last five from Thai cave

Elias Hubbard
July 12, 2018

Phuwadech Kamnguen, a 14-year-old best friend of one of the trapped boys, said he's looking forward to eating KFC with the team again. So the sub still could come into play on a third day of rescues. Helicopters transporting the boys roared overhead.

The Thai navy SEAL unit, which has been overseeing the rescue, confirmed on its Facebook page that the total number of boys brought out was eight.

Their joy and relief was echoed around the globe by the multitude of people who had followed the long ordeal.

Reuters reported that eight players have been rescued in risky attempts by a world-class worldwide team of divers.

That led an upbeat Narongsak to promise more "good news" on Monday afternoon that materialised a few hours later with the emergence of the other four.

"It's really a miracle", Payap said.

Their first words after rescue were "I miss home".

If all goes according to plan, the remaining boys, their coach, and the doctor and Navy SEAL divers who have been with them in the cave will be brought out today.

The team became trapped on June 23 when they set out to explore the cave after soccer practice and rains flooded the tunnels, trapping them inside.

Some 19 divers have re-entered Tham Luang Cave in northern Thailand and as with the previous rescues, two divers will escort each of the footballers out of the cave with tethers. All preparations, including replacing the compressed air cylinders positioned along the route out in the cave, take at least 20 hours, he said. Last Friday, one former Thai Navy Seal died while placing oxygen tanks deep within the caves. And the confidence of the diving team, and expertise specific to the cave, grew after its first successful mission Sunday.

"Water levels are the same like the last two days", he said, adding that rescue efforts were expected to faster than they had been before.

The boys, who were guided through the cave's twisting passages on Sunday, were said to be happy and undergoing medical checks.

Prayuth said the Tham Luang cave would be closed for some time to make it safe for visitors.

Sunday night, teams of divers brought out four of the trapped boys to waiting ambulances.

The first eight boys rescued are in good mental and physical health and are asking for chocolate, officials said Tuesday, although two were on antibiotics after being tested for pneumonia.

He said they would need to keep at least two metres away for their boys for at least 48 hours, until "we are sure there is no infection, then they can visit them normally".

The boys will remain in quarantine because of a fear of infection, and it's understood they have only been able to speak to family members through a window.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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