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

Thai Navy SEALs use Facebook for nail-biting updates on cave rescue mission

Thai Navy SEALs use Facebook for nail-biting updates on cave rescue mission

On Sunday, Musk tweeted a series of videos showing a team of divers testing the pod in the swimming pool at Palisades Charter High School. If the tests are successful, the sub would be placed on a 17-hour flight to Thailand.

The boys were still being quarantined from their parents because of the risk of infection and would likely be kept in hospital for a week for tests, officials said earlier.

The total number of boys pulled from the cave Monday is four, following the four that were pulled Sunday. Upon rescue, the boys will receive an initial medical assessment at a makeshift triage site before being airlifted to Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital, which is about 70 km away from the cave.

Mongkhol Boonpiam, 14, has been named by some Thai media as one of the rescued boys.

Earlier this week, Musk offered engineers from two of his other companies - SpaceX and The Boring Company - to assist the Thai government. Each boy is being accompanied by two divers.

US Embassy Bangkok spokesman Steve Castonguay said: "The US will remain here to continue to support this operation until all the soccer players and their coach have been rescued". Their condition was not immediately clear.

They expected the process to take two or three days.

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18 divers, 13 foreign and five from Thailand, reportedly entered the cave system at around 10am local time.

The decision to add more British diving experts to the mission was made after Narongsak Osotanakorn, the former governor of Chiang Rai who heads the rescue mission, announced evacuation would begin yesterday.

Fox News reported that rescue operators believed the first phase of the operation would take about 12 hours.

Officials had looked at many different ways to save the boys and their coach. They had been missing for 10 days before they were discovered.

He said the next operation will be conducted on Tuesday. The Thai navy confirmed to the Guardian that the first two boys were freed late on Sunday afternoon and then airlifted to Chiang Rai city, which is about 50 miles from the cave.

In letters sent to their parents from inside the cave, the boys apologised - and asked for less homework and more fried chicken when they came out. "Based on the complexity and difficulty of the cave environment it is unknown how long it might take and how many children would exit the cave".

Looming rain was one of the main enemies of the operation, threatening to flood the cave complex in mountainous northern Thailand, although a bewildering array of other dangers could also doom their safe return.

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On Sunday, officials decided they could no longer wait, saying conditions were "as flawless as they will be" for a rescue attempt. Thailand's navy SEALs say the four boys and coach rescued on Tuesday, after other rescues in the previous two days, are all safe.

"We're thankful for the coach for being there with them, to help guide the kids through this situation, without him, they probably wouldn't have survived", said Guerrero.

As the monsoon rains begin, water is being pumped out of the caves and a plan is being developed to bring them to safety.

He said the extraction effort would likely resume early Monday.

The rescue teams had rehearsed the plan for several days, Mr Narongsak said, and had managed to drain the water level in the cave considerably but needed to move fast. Gen. Chalongchai Chaiyakam said.

On Sunday, divers held the first four boys close to bring them out, and each had to wear an oxygen mask to enable normal breathing, authorities said.

Onlookers watch and cheer as ambulances deliver boys rescued from a cave in northern Thailand to a hospital in Chiang Rai after they were transported by helicopters on July 8, 2018 in Chiangrai, Thailand. Two hours later, two more boys were extracted 10 minutes apart. The rescuers and boys will have to contend with navigating tight passageways filled with muddy water and strong currents, as well as with oxygen-depleted air.

Experienced cave rescue experts consider an underwater escape a last resort, especially with people untrained in diving, as the boys are. The path out is considered especially complicated because of twists and turns in narrow flooded passages. The team is huddled in an enclosed area of the cave, in which oxygen levels are falling, and the incoming rain could end up shrinking the unflooded space to around 100 square feet.

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"The hole is really small, I have to take off my air tank to crawl through it", a 25-year-old Thai Navy Seal told Reuters before the rescue attempt.

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