At least four boys from the youth soccer team trapped inside a cave in northern Thailand have been brought out, said the Thai Navy Seals today while continuing their rescue efforts. The news was followed by an announcement that rescue efforts would pause for 10 hours.*
Wild boars rescued
The Thai Navy Seals posted a message on Facebook indicating the time of the rescue, 19:47 local time (12:47 GMT), with a statement that read: "The fourth Wild Boar is out of the cave." The name was a reference to the boys' soccer team.
The mission is seeing trained divers guide the boys and their coach to the mouth of the Tham Luang cave system through a treacherous maze of dark passageways. Although no predictions have been made regarding the mission's duration, officials have declared it is moving at a faster pace than originally predicted.
Early today, leader of the operation Chiang Rai acting Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn announced that 18 divers had entered the cave to rescue the boys. "This is D-Day," he said adding that the boys were "ready to face any challenges."
Osottanakorn also revealed the soccer team was assessed by a doctor and was found to be "very fit physically and mentally" as well as "determined and focused." Then in a statement released late Sunday afternoon, Osatanakorn further revealed that “divers will work with medics in the cave to assess the boys’ health before determining who will come out first.”
“They cannot decide how many of them will be able to come out for the first operation. Based on the complexity and difficulty of the cave environment it is unknown how long it might take and how many children would exit the cave," the governor further explained.
A torturous ordeal
Experienced divers have revealed that getting to and from the boys is an 11-hour round trip ordeal that encompasses walking, climbing and diving in total darkness. The most problematic section of the trip has been revealed to be halfway out and named the "T-Junction" sue to the fact that it is so small divers are forced to remove their air tanks to pass it.
Once passed the tight junction divers reach a cavern named Chamber 3 currently serving as a forward base for the divers to rest before the final walk out. Surviving the entire trip is risky and the journey led to the unfortunate death of former Thai navy diver Saman Gunan earlier this week.
Once rescued the boys are expected to head straight to hospital in Chiang Rai town for further evaluations. The team of young soccer players, ages 11-16, and their 25-year-old coach were stranded in the caves for nearly 10 days due to flooding and their constantly evolving rescue has continued to make news headlines around the world.
Therefore, Chiang Rai Public Health Office revealed that the medical teams have made arrangements and ready to deliver them in front of the cave to Chiang Rai hospital immediately.— PR Thai Government (@prdthailand) July 8, 2018
*At about 11am local time (4am GMT) another rescue team of divers entered the cave after a night's pause. “At 11am we sent the second team,” confirmed Osatanakorn.
Meanwhile, it was also reported that Osatanakorn would be transferred to another province but continue with his role as chief of the rescue mission.
** A little before 5pm local time (10am GMT) a fifth boy was reported rescued after a six-hour operation. Thai PBS released video footage of an ambulance carrying the boy away.
*** The team of 18 Thai and international divers supported by at least 80 other rescue workers successfully rescued three more boys on Monday, two hours faster than the operation on Sunday.
****At 10.08am local time on Tuesday divers entered the cave for the third operation to rescue the last four remaining boys and coach.