Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Supporters cheer on Thai cave rescuers and football team with heartwarming memes

Supporters cheer on Thai cave rescuers and football team with heartwarming memes

It no longer mattered, as all 12 boys and the coach were finally safe in hospital, where they will remain in quarantine for about a week. Over the next three days, the boys were brought out in groups; four on the first day, four on the second and five on Tuesday.

The operation resumed after a 10-hour hiatus.

The second phase of a rescue operation has ended for the day, with more than half of the Thai soccer team rescued from the cave.

That means the fifth boy's rescue took about just under six hours, or an hour less than the day before when the first four were brought out.

It's a process that can take several hours.

But he could not confirm if all five would come out today.

The team had to pause rescue efforts as weather conditions worsened and made the narrow cave system more hard to navigate.

In the last 18 days, what began as a local search for the missing 13 turned into a complex rescue operation, involving hundreds of experts who flew in from around the world to help.

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The Thai youth soccer team and their coach became trapped in the cave they were exploring on June 23 after heavy rains flooded exits.

Rescue workers in Thailand were seen carrying a person on a stretcher away from a cave complex and into a waiting ambulance todday, a Reuters witness said.

Authorities declined to say how many boys would be extracted on Monday.

The saga has dominated global headlines, with the team spending nine days unaccounted for inside the cave before British divers found the emaciated and dishevelled group huddling on a muddy bank above the flooding.

"Football's Coming Home. First Wild Boars Out", a headline on one online Thai paper said on Monday, referring to a song chanted by English soccer fans at the World Cup now underway in Russian Federation.

But with oxygen levels inside dropping to risky lows and the prospect of heavy rains flooding the area completely, authorities decided they had to move quickly, and take the group out through the water-filled tunnels. Thai Navy SEALs and worldwide cave diving experts brought out four boys Sunday, and the operation is continuing today. An international-level rescue mission began soon after, with hundreds of experts and military personnel from various countries arriving at the spot.

The perilous rescues have involved two divers accompanying each boy, all of whom have been learning to dive since July 2, when searchers found them.

The names of the rescued boys were not released.

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In an indication of how unsafe the journey can be, a former Thai navy diver died in the caves on Friday.

Four other youngsters and their soccer coach are still inside.

Officials lavished praise on the Thai and worldwide divers who, in pairs of two, executed the risky rescue mission, guiding the boys, who could barely swim and had no diving experience, through a treacherous 2½-mile-long escape route that twisted and turned through the cavern. So far, their families have seen them through a glass barrier.

Perhaps those prayers were answered, as hours after the last team members were rescued, the heavens opened and the monsoonal rains thundered down.

There was no word on the condition of any of the people brought out on Monday.

None of them have fevers, and all are able to eat normal "medical" food, Jesada said, an improvement from the watered-down porridge they were fed when they were first rescued.

Rescue operations on Monday were expected to end by 9 p.m. local time.

One boy asked for a fried chicken dinner. They were in good condition in hospital, officials said. The most unsafe part is the first kilometer, during which the divers and boys are required to squeeze through a narrow, flooded channel.

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All those rescued from the Luang Khun Nam Nang Non cave are to be flown or transported by ambulance to the Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital.

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