Thailand cave rescue: ‘Everybody will be out TODAY’ Eleventh person rescued

Blanche Robertson
July 12, 2018

Speaking at a press briefing at 9.30 pm, the former Chiang Rai governor said that the extraction mission today which began at 11 am was accomplished at 8 pm with four more teenage footballers being rescued out of the flooded cave and safely sent to Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital.

The dry weather allowed workers to pump nearly a foot of water from flooded portions of the cave to help in the complicated and risky rescue.

All 12 members of a Thai soccer team and their coach have been rescued from a cave where they were stranded by floodwater for 17 days.

Thailand's health ministry permanent secretary Jesada Chokdamrongsuk told reporters that the first eight boys rescued from the cave complex are generally in good health and had asked for chocolate bread for breakfast. British divers found the 13, huddled on a muddy bank in a partly flooded chamber several kilometres inside the complex, on Monday last week. Since then, Thai and worldwide divers and specialists have been strategizing how to safely extract the boys and their coach. Certificates of gratitude will also be given to all of the divers.

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The good news today, he said, was that the rescue team spent nine hours - two hours faster than they did a day earlier - from the time they went deeper into the cave to extract the four survivors until they emerged safely from the cave.

Two of the boys were showing symptoms of lung infections but the four boys from the first group rescued were all walking around their hospital beds. Officials said late Sunday they'd need to pause the operation for at least 10 hours to fill oxygen tanks that had been depleted during the first phase of the mission. Efforts were again suspended for the day Monday after the second set of four boys were extracted.

Due to fear of spreading disease, medical authorities are still not allowing the boys to have direct contact with their parents, who had to wear surgical robes and masks and were not allowed to hug their sons when visiting them in hospital. CNN reported Monday that family members said they hadn't been told which boys had been pulled out and which still remain in the cave 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from the entrance.

Rescue mission chief Narongsak Osottanakorn said that the names of the rescued boys have not been released out of respect for the families of those still waiting to be saved.

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