Thailand cave rescue: Four boys retrieved in second phase | News | DW | 09.07.2018
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Thailand cave rescue: Four boys retrieved in second phase

Expert divers have pulled four more boys from a flooded cave in northern Thailand, officials say. Authorities are working to extract five other members of their group who are still trapped underground.

Four more members of a Thai youth football team were brought out of a flooded cave on Monday during phase two of a difficult rescue mission.

Television footage showed ambulances leaving the Tham Luang Nang Non cave site in northern Thailand, where 12 boys and their soccer coach had been trapped for more than a fortnight. Five people now remain inside, with eight rescued thus far.

"We have helped four more children today," rescue chief Narongsak Osottanakorn said. 

"The eighth person is out and the operation is done for today," added Sitthichai Klangpattana, flag officer to Thailand's navy SEAL commander.

Read moreThe Thai cave rescue and our longing for clarity

On Sunday — the first day of the mission — four boys were rescued from the cave in an operation that involved divers  guiding them through narrow, winding passages filled with muddy water and strong currents.

Authorities were racing to rescue the remaining boys and their 25-year-old coach before monsoon rains cause the floodwater to rise, with efforts expected to continue on Tuesday.

The rescue operation so far:

  • The first four of 12 boys were rescued in the first phase of the operation on Sunday.
  • The head of the rescue mission said the healthiest boys were the first to be taken out.
  • The boys wore full diving face masks as a team of diving experts guided them along a 4.7-kilometer (2.9-mile) route out of the cave complex.
  • The rescued boys were immediately taken to hospital to undergo medical tests.
  • Officials say they are in good health but will not be allowed close contact with their relatives because of the risk of infection.
    A map showing the cave complex

Complicated rescue: Thirteen foreign divers and five members of Thailand's navy SEAL unit are taking part in the operation to free the young soccer players and their coach. Officials say it could take up to four days to get the entire team out. Each round trip from the rescue camp to the rocky shelf where the group is trapped takes about 11 hours. As well as diving through tight submerged passageways, the rescuers and boys also have to contend with oxygen-depleted air. A former Thai navy SEAL died making the dive on Friday.

Two weeks underground: A massive rescue operation was launched after the boys, aged 11-16, and their coach went missing on June 23. The footballers were exploring the cave after a practice game when flash flooding blocked their escape route. They were discovered by British divers nine days later.

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One Thai soccer player had a narrow escape

nm/ng (AFP, AP)


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