Thursday, 20 September, 2018

U.S. Working Closely with Thailand to Rescue Children from Cave

Thai rescue team members walk inside a cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23 in Mae Sai Chiang Rai province northern Thailand Thailand cave rescue: Elon Musk team working on escape pod design
Leonard Rios | 11 July, 2018, 09:56

The boys had to learn the basics of swimming and diving before they could start the 2.5 mile journey.

Expert divers managed to get four of the 12 boys to safety on Sunday.

Local and global media in Thailand are reporting two of the 12 boys trapped in the flooded Tham Luang cave have been successfully rescued after nearly two weeks.

The mission is seeing trained divers guide the boys and their coach to the mouth of the Tham Luang cave system through a treacherous maze of dark passageways. As per reports, the boys have been trapped in the cave since June 23. Swim lessons are rare in Thailand, where the leading cause of death for children under 15 is drowning.

The boys were immediately taken to the hospital for evaluation after being trapped underground for almost two weeks.

Continuing rain is hindering the rescue efforts. Two divers will escort each boy. They made their way back to the entrance of the cave guided by a 3 mile rope.

An 18-man rescue team - comprised of 13 foreign divers and five Thai Navy SEALs - are rescuing the young boys, aged 11-16, and their 25-year-old coach.

In a letter of his own, coach Ekapol Chanthawong apologized to the boys' parents for the ordeal. Other divers were on guard along the unsafe first kilometer of the passageway.

The diver, the first fatality of the rescue effort, was working in a volunteer capacity and died on a mission to place air canisters along the passage to where the boys are, necessary for divers to safely travel the five- to six-hour route.

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Chiang Rai acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn had said earlier Monday that the second phase began at 11 a.m. and authorities "hope to hear good news in the next few hours".

The rescue operation has been put on hold until today while compressed air tanks are replaced.

An ambulance believed to be carrying rescued schoolboys travels to a military helipad near Tham Luang cave complex in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand, July 8, 2018.

"It pretty much rains all day, sometimes every day or maybe every other day, it just depends on the area where you are at", said Guerrero.

"I'm thinking they're going to be safe and they will be all be rescued soon", said Guerrero. Officials recognize that they have to finish the recuses quickly, before seasonal monsoon rains arrive and flood the caves even further.

"Today is D-Day", Narongsak had earlier told reporters.

The California tunnel company run by Elon Musk is continuing to maintain a presence at the Thai cave. "We can't visit our boys in hospital because they need to be monitored for 48 hours", Somboon told Reuters.

On Sunday, Musk posted photos and video of the "kid-size submarine" his team was testing in LA. "We have to be 100 percent confident that there is no risk to the boys before we evacuate", provincial governor Narongsak Osottanakorn said.

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