Published: Sun, July 08, 2018
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Ambulances leave from Thai cave as rescue underway

Ambulances leave from Thai cave as rescue underway

Rescue officials prepare to receive the boys and their coach as evacuation begins at Tham Luang cave in Mae Sai district, Chiang Rai, on Sunday.

They were joined by three more divers on Sunday afternoon and a team of rescue workers helping to run a rope system in more hard stretches of the cave, as well as five Thai navy Seals.

The boys, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach became stranded when they went exploring in the cave after a practice game. The team and coach were exploring the cave after a practice game when heavy rainfall and flooding cut off their escape route out of the cave and prevented rescuers from finding them for nearly 10 days.

In a statement released late Sunday afternoon, Chiang Rai acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn had said "divers will work with medics in the cave to assess the boys' health before determining who will come out first".

The entire operation to get all 13 out of the cave could last 2-4 days, depending on weather and water conditions, said army Maj. "At 10 am today (8:30 am IST) 13 foreign divers went in to extract the children along with five Thai navy SEALs".

Since being found alive 4 days ago, the global search effort to bring the boys and their coach out of the cave system has grown exponentially. I've told Yod to get ready to take me out for fried chicken.

"We don't know where to drill a hole so that we can bring them out", Narongsak said. Do take good care of yourself.

In a letter of his own, the coach, Ekapol Chanthawong, apologized to the boys' parents for the ordeal.

"Mom, Dad, I love you guys, and little sister Toi", wrote Pipat "Nick" Poti, 15.

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On Saturday, Thai Navy SEALS published touching notes scrawled by the trapped footballers to their families, who had been waiting for them agonizingly close by outside the cave entrance.

A spokeswoman for the Boring Company who declined to be named said it is in talks with the Thai government and people on the ground to determine how they could best assist their efforts.

'The boys are physically and mentally fit to come out.

They are planning for two divers to accompany each boy back to the surface through the four kilometres of tight, muddy, water-filled passageways, some of which are less than a metre in diameter.

Their ordeal has drawn huge media attention in Thailand and overseas, and getting the boys out safely could be a boost for Thailand's ruling junta ahead of a general election next year.

The group have so far received training in how to breathe through scuba masks but the challenging conditions within the cave make the rescue mission considerably more risky.

Follow 1 NEWS' live coverage of the rescue operation at the cave in Thailand where 12 schoolboys and their football coach were trapped.

Over the weekend, water in the cave reached its lowest level after authorities continued to pump water out. There have been oxygen tanks left along the route to help them complete the long journey. They have not specified how the boys would be transported from the cave's entrance when they are freed, but several helicopters have been on standby for days, prepared to bring them to the hospital for treatment.

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