Four Thai boys pulled out on day 1of cave rescue

Posted July 11, 2018

A little before 5pm local time (10am GMT) a fifth boy was reported rescued after a six-hour operation. According to the Guardian, the rescue has concluded for the night and will resume in about 10 to 20 hours.

The entire operation to get all 13 out of the cave could last two to four days, depending on weather and water conditions, army Maj.

The latest images out of Chiang Rai show heavy clouds hanging low around the mountains where crews are racing to rescue the remaining members of the soccer team and their coach.

The risks of the journey through the cave's narrow passageways, in some places no more than 0.6m wide, was driven home last Friday when a former Thai navy diver died after his oxygen supply ran out.

Narongsak said that "everything went smoothly", but it was unclear when the others would be freed.

Wild Boar Academy have spent more than two weeks in the Tham Luang caves after being cut off from the exit during a visit by a sudden downpour.

The daring and risky bid to rescue the boys - aged between 11 and 16 - was suspended by the mission chief late on Sunday to replenish oxygen supplies and make new preparations, which he said would take at least 10 hours.

Four boys were brought safely out of the cave on Sunday.

"The monsoonal pattern is present, meaning rain arriving in waves, which can't be adequately timed as they can escalate quickly", CNN meteorologist Gene Norman said Sunday evening.

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The boys, aged between 11 and 16, went missing with their 25-year-old coach after soccer practice on June 23, setting out on an adventure to explore the cave complex near the border with Myanmar and celebrate a boy's birthday.

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But the mission was paused overnight for air tanks to be replaced. After emerging from the cave, they were taken in an ambulance to be evacuated from the cave site via helicopter.

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

The operation was launched at 10 am local time (0400 CET) on Sunday and involves 13 foreign divers and 5 Thai navy SEALs.

The first, almost 1km-long section from where the boys have been huddling in darkness is believed to be the most hard, requiring a long dive and crawling through mud and debris, with some crevices barely wide enough for a person.

Rescue crews found them deep inside the cave on July 2. After an initial assessment at the site, the plan was to airlift the boys to a makeshift helipad close to the Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital, some 70 km away.

On Sunday night, Thai navy SEALs posted a celebratory note on their Facebook page, saying: "Have sweet dreams everyone". Other divers were on guard along the unsafe first kilometer of the passageway.