Rescue operation underway to bring boys out of cave

Blanche Robertson
July 12, 2018

But Thai officials, acutely aware that the boys could be trapped for months by monsoon rains that would swell waters in the cave system, seized a window of opportunity provided by relatively mild weather.

Extracting everyone could take up to four days, but the initial success raised hopes that could be done.

"Two air tank connections on front and two on rear, allowing one to four tanks simultaneously connected, all recessed for impact protection [with] secondary cap seal if leak develops", Mr Musk said.

The boys are expected to come out of their subterranean prison at around 9 pm local time (1500 CET), although Osottanakorn warned that there was "no time limit" and that the rescue operation could take days or be halted at any time.

He also tweeted lauding the fighting spirit of the boys and tweeted that he "Continue to be amazed by the bravery, resilience & tenacity of kids & diving team in Thailand".

His announcement, at a news conference more than an hour after helicopters and ambulances were seen rushing from the cave area, drew cheers and applause.

Dozens of divers have arrived at the cave on Sunday morning.

Cave rescue experts consider an underwater escape to be a last resort, especially with people untrained in diving.

President Donald Trump tweeted that United States was helping the rescue effort.

The rescue effort is likely to take two to three days to complete, Major General Chalongchai Chaiyakorn, an army commander, told reporters, adding it "depends on other factors like the weather". His team would camp out on the hill to try and finish its work before the rain came, he said. A major concern of the rescuers is that oxygen levels in their safe space could fall dangerously low.

Earlier efforts to pump out water from the cave have been set back every time there has been a heavy rain.

Narongsak Osottanakorn, who is in charge of the rescue mission, said Saturday conditions were now "perfect", BBC News reports.

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Authorities tightened a security cordon, draping plastic sheets around the approach to the cave, further giving the sense that a rescue might be imminent.

The boys, aged between 11 and 16, went missing with their 25-year-old coach after soccer practice on June 23, setting out on an adventure to explore the cave complex near the border with Myanmar and celebrate a boy's birthday.

Flooding cut off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for nearly 10 days.

The ordeal has riveted Thailand and captured the world's attention.

The death of a former Thai Navy seal who fell unconscious during a dive in the cave on Friday, underscores the challenge that awaits the boys. Much of the path out of the cave is flooded, and in places the cave gets as narrow as 70cm. He posted a video of a diver testing the device in a pool.

Over the past few days, Musk posited ways his companies could help in Thailand. "Very fearless and talented people!"

The boys see their situation in less grandiose terms, according to their notes home, which were made public Saturday.

The rescue mission began after rainshowers soaked the Tham Luang Cave area in northern Chiang Rai province for the past 24 hours, heightening the risks in what the governor has called a "war with water and time" to save the team.

"Don't worry, I'm fine. Love you all", wrote Mick.

One boy named Mick wrote: "Don't be anxious, I miss everyone". I'm happy being here inside, the navy SEALS have taken good care.

"Night loves Dad and Mom and brother, don't worry about me". The boys sent handwritten letters to their parents and requested for their favorite meals.

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