World Media

Rescued from Flooded Cave in Thailand

Rescued from Flooded Cave in Thailand

- Thai authorities said early Sunday that they would begin an hours-long process of extracting a group of boys and their soccer coach more than two weeks after the group became trapped in a flooded cave in northern Thailand.

She said members of the 353rd U.S. Special Operations Group and U.S. military pararescue teams, survival specialists, divers and medical personnel are on the ground in support of the Thai-led global rescue effort.

Meanwhile, as CNN reported on Sunday, the rescue effort in Thailand has assembled divers and Navy Seal personnel from various countries including the United States and Thailand itself, which saw one elite diver die on Friday during the operation to save the boys.

As one diving expert put it to me, when underwater cave rescues go wrong they go wrong in a big way.

The decision to move the boys using divers has not been taken lightly.

Eight boys and their coach remain trapped in the caves, with rescue operations now on hold after the first entry depleted resources.

"Today is a D-Day for our operation", Narongsak said.

Rescuers hope to extract the remaining eight over the next two days, although there are concerns that further monsoon rainfall will hamper efforts.

A mammoth response operation including a medical unit, ambulance and helicopter for every boy is waiting outside the cave for the team to emerge.

Tropical Storm Chris to bring showers
Beryl is expected to produce total rain of 2 to 3 inches through Tuesday across the Leeward and the Virgin Islands, as well as Puerto Rico .

With them were five other worldwide divers and five Thai navy SEALS, and more than 70 other divers in support roles, 50 of whom were foreigners.

The rescue operation claimed the life of a former Thai navy diver last week.

Initial euphoria over finding the boys alive quickly turned into deep anxiety as rescuers struggled to find a way to get them out.

Family members pray near a cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand on Saturday.

Constant pumping has reduced the water level inside the cave, but new rain could not only re-flood the area, but also strengthen the water currents in the narrow passages though which rescuers and the boys must swim with the help of diving gear to exit the cave.

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

The boys, ranging in age from 11 to 16 years old, and their 25-year-old coach had been exploring in the cave after a practice game June 23.

The journey for even the most able of the trapped Thai boys is expected to take six hours.

"Now and in the next three or four days, the conditions are flawless (for evacuation) in terms of the water, the weather and the boys' health", Narongsak told reporters.


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