Published: Tue, July 10, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

3rd Thai cave rescue mission underway

3rd Thai cave rescue mission underway

Doing so would draw a line under an extraordinary rescue effort that has transfixed Thailand for more than two weeks and captured global attention for days on end. However, officials scotched any chance of using the mini sub, made of rocket parts, to rescue the remaining boys.

All preparations, including replacing the oxygen cylinders positioned along the route out in the cave, take at least 20 hours, he said. A massive global search operation was launched and it took 10 days to locate the boys, who had taken shelter on a dry slope deep in the complex.

Jesada said the group had been given x-rays and blood tests, adding that two presented suspected symptoms of pneumonia but were given antibiotics and were "in a normal state".

An elite team of Thai Navy SEALs and foreign rescue divers on Tuesday began what they hoped would be a final push to rescue four boys and their soccer coach from a cave near the Thai-Myanmar border after extracting eight others through a labyrinth of tight passages.

19 divers are said to be involved in the operation, which began at just after 10:00am local time.

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"I am very happy about those who already made it out and I think everyone will be out today", said Waranchit Karnkaew, 14, who also said the football-mad boys had been closely following games at the World Cup in Russian Federation before they were trapped.

"They [the first four] will be kept away from their parents for a while because we are concerned about infections", he said, before adding that doctors would decide on family visits and the boys would be kept "at a distance" or seen "through glass".

A Thai well wisher puts a poster to pray for boys and their soccer coach who have been trapped since June 23, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand Monday.

Rescue officials said the team's coach, Ekkapol Chantawong, who also remains stranded, was among "the weakest in the group" because he gave up his share of food and water to the children in the early days of their entrapment.

The boys, aged 12-16, were the first to be extracted on Sunday and Monday, while the final four and their coach spent a 17th night inside.

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Two more boys left the Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex a short time later and were transferred to a medical facility on site, followed soon after by a fourth boy, according to the eyewitness, who is stationed at the entrance to the cave.

Thai soldiers walk out from the Tham Luang cave area as operations continue on July 9, 2018. Workers have been laboring around the clock to pump water out of the cave, and authorities said Monday that heavy downpours overnight did not raise water levels inside.

"If there are no abnormal factors, all five will come out today", Narongsak Osatanakorn, the former Chiang Rai governor who has been heading up rescue efforts, told reporters on Tuesday afternoon.

Nargonsak said this phase may take longer than the previous two rescue missions, the longer, first missing taking 11 hours.

The rescued boys will be in quarantine for at least 24 hours, Tracy reports. The team's 25-year-old coach and four boys are still deep inside the flooded and sprawling cave.

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