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All 12 boys and their coach rescued from flooded Thai cave

The remaining boys were rescued today.

Updated Jul 10th 2018, 12:54 PM

ALL 12 BOYS and their football coach have been rescued from a flooded Thai cave today, completing an astonishing rescue mission that has captivated the world.

The announcement was made by the Thai Navy Seals, who had been updating the world via Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/ThaiSEAL/posts/1645534662236593

Authorities had been confident of getting the final two out by this evening, 18 days after the dozen boys and their coach became trapped deep inside the Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand.

“(They) will be extracted today,” rescue chief Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters this morning after elite foreign divers and Thai Navy SEALs escorted eight members of the Wild Boars football team out in highly risky operations over the previous two days.

This afternoon multiple sources involved in the operation said three more boys had been brought out.

The news then emerged that all 12 boys and their coach have been removed.

Four divers are now to be taken out from the cave, where they had been waiting with the boys since their discovery.
https://www.facebook.com/ThaiSEAL/posts/1645665392223520

How it happened

The 12 boys, aged from 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach, ventured into the cave on June 23 after football practice and got caught deep inside when heavy rains caused flooding that trapped them on a muddy ledge.

They spent nine harrowing days trapped in darkness until two British divers found them.

Authorities then struggled to devise a safe plan to get them out, mulling ideas such as drilling holes into the mountain or waiting months until monsoon rains ended and they could walk out.

With oxygen levels in their chamber falling to dangerous levels and complete flooding of the cave system possible, rescuers pushed ahead with the least-worst option of having divers escort them out through the extremely narrow and water-filled tunnels.

The ups and downs of the rescue bid have entranced Thailand and also fixated a global audience, drawing support from celebrities as varied as US President Donald Trump, football star Lionel Messi and tech guru Elon Musk.

‘Hooyah’

Thailand cave rescue An ambulance taking the eighth rescued boy moves to a local hospital in Chiang Rai, Thailand

The emergence of the second batch of four boys yesterday evening was greeted with a simple “Hooyah” by the SEAL team on their Facebook page, an exclamation that lit up Thai social media.

Positive medical reports on the rescued group further fuelled the sense of joy and optimism.

“All eight are in good health, no fever… everyone is in a good mental state,” Jedsada Chokdamrongsuk, permanent secretary of the public health ministry, said at Chiang Rai hospital where the boys were recuperating on Tuesday morning.

However all of the boys, and their coach, will remain in quarantine until doctors were sure they had not contracted any infections from inside the cave.

Experts warned that drinking contaminated water or otherwise being exposed to bird or bat droppings in the cave could lead to dangerous infections.

But the early signs on the initial eight were promising, with X-rays and blood tests showing just two had signs of pneumonia and that they were in a “normal state” after taking antibiotics, Jedsada said.

Some had even asked for “bread and chocolate spread”, he added.

Final push 

Following a similar pattern as the previous two days, the divers ventured back into the cave at 10am today, Narongsak told reporters.

However, unlike Sunday and Monday when only four were brought out each day due to logistical constraints, rescuers would try to extract all of the remaining five in one operation, Narongsak said.

A doctor and three SEALS who had stayed with the footballers would also come out today, he added.

The escape route was a challenge for even experienced divers. The boys had no previous diving experience so the rescuers trained them how to use a mask and breathe underwater via an oxygen tank.

One fear had been that they would panic while trying to swim underwater, even with a diver escorting them.

Although there have been no major reported complications during the initial rescues, the death of a former Thai Navy SEAL diver who ran out of oxygen in a flooded area of the cave on Friday underscored the dangers of the journey.

“I cannot understand how cool these small kids are, you know? Thinking about how they’ve been kept in a small cave for two weeks, they haven’t seen their mums,” Ivan Karadzic, who runs a diving business in Thailand and has been involved in the rescue mission, told the BBC.

“Incredibly strong kids. Unbelievable almost.”

© – AFP, 2018 - additional reporting Aoife Barry

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