In a delicate and risky operation four of the boys who have been trapped for two weeks in a complex of caves in Thailand have now been rescued. They are said to be in a good condition. The operation to rescue the remaining eight boys and their football coach has had to be suspended for ten hours and will hopefully be resumed at some time on Monday with hopes they will be rescued during the day. The whole operation is a race against time because more rain is forecast in the coming days.
After two weeks of heartbreak the boys and their coach who were lost in a sunken cave complex in the west of Thailand began being slowly rescued in a difficult operation in which scores of divers, local and foreign, are involved.
The first evacuees emerged seven hours after the Thai Government announced a rescue operation had commenced.
A team of 90 expert divers, 40 of them Thai and the other 50 from various countries, studied the cave complex. Access to the cave where the boys are trapped as well as a return out of the cave is extremely difficult, even for the expert divers.
The operation began on Sunday morning following prolonged fears for the safety of the boys as well as the added hazard that the water level is rising.
The divers are guiding the boys through the narrow passages, in complete darkness and in high water levels at the mouth of the cave. This same passage has already claimed the life of a former Thai naval diver last Friday.
The head of the rescue mission said the process was going smoothly. However, it has had to be suspended because oxygen levels in the cave have dropped.
Reuter’s correspondent Panu Wongcha-Um said, “We have been told that this operation could take up to three to four days and we were told that they will gradually bring the boys out, one by one, with two divers per one of the trapped boys. What we know also is that the authorities say they are racing against time and this is the perfect opportunity, as the rain is about to arrive and if they don’t act now they may have to reassess and the rescue operation may have to be delayed for a long time.”
In order to emerge from the cave complex the boys have to walk, climb and dive in complete darkness guided by ropes that have been especially installed by the rescue team. Each boy is being accompanied by two divers.
The worst part of this perilous route outward is the part known as the T-Junction that is so narrow that the divers have to remove their oxygen tanks from their backs to be able to proceed.