DoD Personnel Assist in Thai Cave Rescue Operations

DoD Personnel Assist in Thai Cave Rescue Operations

DoD Personnel Assist in Thai Cave Rescue Operations

"The operation went much better than expected, " Chiang Rai acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn, who is overseeing the mission, said Sunday night.

A massive global effort involving more than 100 divers and rescue workers brought the first eight boys out through winding and partly-submerged passageways on Sunday and Monday, four a day.

The rescued kids are now in the hospital, where they should receive the proper care before being released to their families.

Narongsak said after the first four boys were rescued that they would be quarantined "for a while because we are concerned about infections".

A team of 19 divers resumed the rescue mission at 10 a.m. local time on Tuesday, Thai officials said.

Thais have been fixated on the crisis, hoping desperately for the safe return of the 12 boys and their 25-year-old football coach, after they ventured into the Tham Luang cave complex after practice and became trapped by rising waters more than a fortnight ago. Three more members of the team emerged before the day's nine-hour rescue efforts were halted after nightfall, according to a post on the Facebook page of Thailand's navy SEAL unit.

A cave diver and anaesthetist, Richard Harris, 53, from Adelaide, examined the boys and recommended that the authorities reverse an original plan to start the rescue with the strongest boys.

Rescue workers and divers are using the break to rest and prepare for the next phase of the grueling operation, which Osotthanakorn said involves some of the hardest diving in the world.

During this process, rescuers need to hold the boys' oxygen tanks in front of them and swim pencil-like through submerged holes.

The rescue operation to extract the 12 members of the Wild Boars junior soccer team and their coach from the Tham Luang Cave commenced on Sunday.

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Among the ideas were drilling an escape route through the mountain, or leaving them for months until the monsoon season ended and the flooding subsided.

The mood was in stark contrast to the glum atmosphere at the site last week, especially after the announcement of the death on Friday of the former Thai navy Seal Saman Kunan, who died while placing air tanks in the cave.

Thai health officials told reporters on Tuesday morning that despite their ordeal, the eight boys who have been rescued appear to be in good health, The Guardian reported.

Early tests indicate all of the boys could be suffering from lung infections, but only two of the first four boys were confirmed.

"They can watch on TV", he said.

A pair of soccer boots where they were left next to bicycles from the group of missing boys at the entrance of the deep cave complex in Chiang Rai, northern Thailand.

"We have more expertise than yesterday", he said.

But bringing out the remaining four boys and their coach could take more than one operation, Narongsak warned. The safety of the divers, who have meticulously planned the mission, is also paramount.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha visited the cave to inspect the operation and was quoted by Narongsak as saying he didn't want to see this kind of incident happen again on Thai soil. "But if Phra Pirun doesn't help, then it might be a little late".

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