Published: Mon, July 09, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

First two of Thai soccer team rescued from cave

First two of Thai soccer team rescued from cave

Each of the rescued boys had two divers with them at all times during the operation.

Four Thai soccer players are the first to be successfully rescued from a flooded cave hours after a complex and risky rescue mission commenced, according to Thai navy SEALS.

Of the 13-strong foreign dive team - mainly from Europe - three escorted the children, while the remainder were positioned along the unsafe first kilometre stretch, where the boys had to navigate through submerged passageways in some places no more than two feet (0.6 metre) wide.

Once the boys and their coach are free, they will be taken to hospital in Chiang Rai town.

The boys and their coach had been stranded in Tham Luang Nang Non when they went exploring in the cave after a scrimmage June 23.

The boys and the coach will dive out of the cave one at a time, each accompanied by a member of a team of global and Thai divers, officials said.

Operation chief Narongsak Osottanakorn said a total of 90 divers would be involved in the rescue mission, with 40 divers from Thailand, and 50 from overseas, including the United States, Australia, China, and Europe, according to the Washington Post.

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The rescue operation will now pause for at least 10 hours, according to Narongsak Osatanakorn, chief of the command centers coordinating the rescue, so that divers can replenish their oxygen tanks.

Two divers would accompany each boy, guided by rope.

Previously, the underwater search for 12 children and their football coach trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand was halted as water levels rose amid relentless rainfall.

Another concern for the remaining boys is their health and conditioning to make the arduous trip after nine days without food before they were found by navy divers. Time is of the essence, though, as heavy monsoons are expected to cause a rise in water levels in the cave.

The order to leave the site came as irritation over the media presence grew, and a day after the rescue mission chief said conditions were ideal for the evacuation to begin. The initial euphoria of finding the boys alive tuned into deep anxiety as rescuers raced to find a way to get them out.

More than 100 exploratory holes were also bored - some shallow, but the longest 400 metres deep - into the mountainside in an attempt to open a second evacuation route and avoid forcing the boys into the risky dive. The notes were sent out with divers who made an 11-hour, back-and-forth journey to act as postmen. Elon Musk has also dispatched engineers from Tesla, Space X, and the Boring Company. They were escorted out by a group of Thai and global divers.

"Don't be anxious, I miss everyone".

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