As of Tuesday morning, all 12 Wild Boar soccer team members and their coach had been rescued from the cave in Thailand, where they became trapped on June 23. After entering the cave, the group found they could not exit, as water had begun rising to fill the narrow, winding underground passage. They found higher ground deep within the cave where they waited for 10 days before being found by a pair of British divers sent in to look for them. The daring rescue operation was risky and dangerous--as proven by the loss of life last Friday of one Thai Navy SEAL diver. He lost consciousness while distributing oxygen tanks underwater along the escape route. All individuals in the rescued group are being evaluated for overall health, but early reports are that they all appear to be well and should recover completely from the ordeal.
The world watches. Around the globe, prayers have been offered for the safe rescue of 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in Thailand.
Over the weekend, four of the boys were safely brought out of the cave. Four more made it out this morning. All were escorted through the murky water in the winding cave system by experienced Thai Navy SEALs and other expert divers. Those eight boys are recuperating in a hospital, while the remaining five individuals wait for a safe window to make the grueling underwater swim out as well.
This morning’s operation took nine hours to complete. That seems an unthinkable amount of time for inexperienced young boys to spend navigating the underwater labyrinth. But remarkably, it was two hours shorter than the successful attempt that brought the first four to the surface.
“We have more operating personnel, and we have more expertise than yesterday,” says Narongsak Osatanakorn. The Chiang Rai province acting Governor is in charge of the rescue effort.
Now only five people remain
trapped in the cave that’s been their abode for more than two weeks. But bringing them out may take more than one more operation, according to Narongsak.
The rescue is taking place at the beginning of the annual monsoon season. Heavy rains keep the water level in the cave high, despite workers laboring around the clock to pump water out of the cave.
Originally, it was thought safest to let the team stay in place until the water receded, but oxygen in the cave was getting too low to risk leaving them there that long.
(Photo: Tham Luang Rescue Operation Center, via AP: Rescuers walk through a shallower section of flood waters inside the cave complex where 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach became trapped on June 23.)