Four of the twelve Thai schoolboys were rescued by divers in part one of an exhaustive international effort. The remaining boys will have to wait until oxygen tanks are replaced and equipment resupplied along the underwater system for the next attempt.
According to local officials it is expected to take at least 10 hours to re-stage the rescue equipment before attempting round #2 of the rescue. Each rescue team takes another 6 hours to navigate and guide the boys through a 4,000 meter long underwater labyrinth. There are more than 90 divers working on the rescue mission including 50 international divers from around the world.
CHIANG RAI, Thailand (Reuters) – Four of 12 Thai schoolboys were rescued from a flooded cave on Sunday in a daring and dangerous operation to save the children and their soccer coach who have been trapped underground for more than two weeks.
The operation to rescue the remaining eight boys – some as young as 11 and weak swimmers – and the coach was called off at nightfall until Monday to give the divers time to replenish oxygen supplies and ensure all preparations were complete.
Thirteen foreign divers and five members of Thailand’s elite navy SEAL unit guided the boys to safety through narrow, submerged passageways that claimed the life of a former Thai navy diver on Friday.
“Today was the best day, the best situation in terms of the weather, the health of the boys, our water management for our rescue effort,” the head of the rescue operation, Narongsak Osottanakorn, told a news conference.
“Today we managed to rescue and send back four children to Chiang Rai Prachanukrua Hospital safely.”
The rescuers needed at least 10 hours to prepare for their next operation, involving about 90 divers in total, 50 of them from foreign countries, he said.
A helicopter flew the four boys to the nearby city of Chiang Rai, where they were taken by ambulance to the hospital. (read more)
Pictorial graphic of the challenge AVAILABLE HERE