Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Thailand cave rescue: Boys lost 2kg but are in 'good condition'

Thailand cave rescue: Boys lost 2kg but are in 'good condition'

MAE SAI, THAILAND-Divers have begun the third phase of the rescue of a youth soccer team trapped for more than two weeks in a flooded cave in northern Thailand and aim to bring out the last four boys and their coach Tuesday, the top rescue official said.

The head of the operation for the rescue of 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach said Tuesday that the cave complex will be turned into a museum about the rescue.

CHIANG RAI, July 11 -The boys rescued from a Thai cave were passed "sleeping" on stretchers through the treacherous pathways, a former Thai Navy SEAL who was the last diver to leave the Tham Luang complex told AFP today.

Monday's rescue mission, which saw four boys extracted before dusk and whisked to Chiang Rai hospital, took around nine hours.

"Today (Tuesday) we hope to be faster", Narongsak added, of the complex and unsafe operation that involves diving through narrow, flooded chambers.

Thongchai Lertwilairatanapong, a public health inspector, said earlier Tuesday that the boys lost an average of 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) while they were trapped.

Authorities have not confirmed the identity of the rescued boys. All 12 boys are being kept away from family members to prevent them from catching infections.

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The first of the rescued boys were due to be reunited with their parents on Wednesday provided they wear protective suits as medics work to rule out any infections.

A rescue operation was launched on Sunday when four of the boys were brought out, tethered to rescue divers. He said they must be treated at the hospital for at least seven days.

One social media user said: "Wow, the angels watching out for them made it just in the nick of time".

Four boys were rescued Sunday, and another four were guided to safety on Monday. Lit by several beams of white light, the divers in wet suits and helmets are seen submerging themselves in the water and grabbing on to a metal dive line used to guide them through the winding channels of the six-mile cave.

Meanwhile, Manchester United invited the boys to game at their home stadium Old Trafford next season while Portugese team Benfica invited the Wild Boars to an expenses-paid week at its training academy.

The search operation quickly turned into a rescue mission involving 90 divers - 50 foreign and 40 Thai - though some warned it could take months.

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

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