Thailand cave rescue: Eight boys pulled out, five still to be saved as operation ends for the day

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By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: July 9, 2018 10:06:29 pm

Thai rescue team members walk inside a cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23. (Source: AP)

Four more boys were pulled out on Monday by divers from Thailand’s Tham Luang cave complex, where 12 soccer players and their soccer coach have been trapped for more than two weeks. With the end of Monday’s operations, the total number of rescued boys of the ‘Wild Boars’ soccer team reached eight. Four boys and their football coach are still in the cave.

“The eighth person is out and the operation is done for today,” Sitthichai Klangpattana, flag officer to Thailand’s Navy SEAL commander, told AP. The same divers who managed to rescue the first group of four boys on Sunday were involved in the second operation. Officials said rescue efforts received a big boost on Monday as rains kept away, allowing the team to pump millions of litres of water out of the flooded cave system.

READ | Thailand cave rescue mission: All your questions answered

The group of 12 boys and their coach Ekapol Chantawong had gone to explore the Tham Luang cave in northern Chiang Rai province on June 23 after their football practice. However, they got trapped inside after heavy rains flooded the entrance of the cave. They were found alive last week by divers.

School students in Ahmedabad play for the well-being of 12 soccer players and their coach who were trapped in a cave in northern Thailand. (Source: PTI)

All the eight boys have been admitted to Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital, where they have been put in quarantine to guard against possible infections. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha, who paid a visit to the site on Monday evening, also turned up at the hospital to meet the rescued boys.

Hospital authorities said the first group of four boys rescued on Sunday were in good health and they were mulling letting their parents meet their wards from Tuesday but from a glass door separation. Narongsak Osottanakorn, the head of the rescue operation, said the boys had khao pad grapao, a Thai dish of meat fried with chili and basil and served over rice, in the morning as per their wish.

Emergency workers carry a stretcher with one of the rescued boy to be transported by ambulance to a hospital. (Source: AP)

Meanwhile, health experts said they would conduct a check-up of the boys on parameters like oxygen, malnutrition, dehydration, post-traumatic stress, and other psychological effects. “One of the major concerns is oxygen right now. They’ve been in an area where oxygen levels are low,” Dr Darria Long Gillespie of the University of Tennessee School of Medicine told CNN.

A team of 90 expert divers — 40 from Thailand and 50 from overseas — have been involved in the intricate rescue operation. Some stretches of the Tham Luang cave are more than 10m (33ft) high, while others are a tight squeeze through water-filled passages.

The cave complex is a snaking system of caverns and crevices which pose a range of problems for rescuers. The death of a former Thai Navy SEAL diver on Friday, who ran out of oxygen, underscored the danger of the mission, which has been termed a “war against time and rains”.

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