Thai cave rescue operation begins for last trapped boys
Divers enter cave to extract final four boys and football coach as others regain in hospital
Divers have entered a cave in northern Thailand to retrieve the last four members of a football squad and their coach-and-four on what rescuers hope will be the final day of the mission to free them.
The operation began just after 10 am on Tuesday as the first eight boys, freed in operations on Sunday and Monday, recuperated at a hospital in the nearest city, Chiang Rai.
Eleven of the twelve sons have only recently rescued, leaving one more team member and the coach still to be brought out.
Torrential rain struck the site on Monday evening and it continued through into the morning, but authorities told preparations for the final rescue mission were unaffected.
You have ensure the rain so you might be wondering part of the preparations for the third operation has been under way since early morning, told Narongsak Osatanakorn, the head of the joint command centre coordinating the operation.
If everything goes right, we will see four kids and a doctor and three Seals that have stayed with the children will all come out, he told. Four plus one coach, so its five.
He said he hoped the rescue mission, which would begin with 19 divers and include more throughout the day, would proceed even faster than Mondays nine-hour operation. Anyone not essential to the mission had been ordered out of the cave, he added.
The first four sons to be freed were reunited with their parents on Monday night through a glass window. Public health officials would decide on Tuesday whether the second batch could see their families.
[ The parents] visited them through a window due to illnes control, Osatanakorn said. If the lab results are negative no infection or any disease they can visit but they have to wear[ medical] garment, face mask and hair cap.
He said they would need to keep at least 2 metres away from their boys for at least 48 hours, until we are sure “were not receiving” infection, then they can visit them ordinarily. No boys would be discharged for at the least seven days.
Jesada Chokedamrongsuk, a physician from the Thai ministry of public health, told a separate press conference at the Chiang Rai hospital that the eight patients were cheerful.
Two sons among the first group to be freed, who he said were aged between 14 and 16, had shown possible signs of pneumonia and all had low temperatures when they arrived on Monday night.
Now they have no fever and can do their normal activities, Chokedamrongsuk said. They can have normal food but we are attaining sure it is easily digestible , not spicy or too strongly flavoured.
The boys had asked for chocolate spread on bread, which the hospital had , he told. They were still wearing sunglasses as a precaution while their eyes adjusted to the light, he added.
For the second lot of patients arriving last night, whose ages range from 12 to 14, they arrived with very low body temperature, and one of them had a low heart rate, he said.
Doctors have treated the boys and now all of them are OK and cheerful. They talk normally. No fever. Weve started dedicating them medical food this morning.
He said the second group of four sons would undergo detailed testing of their eyes, nutrition levels and mental health, with blood samples to be sent to Bangkok to test for any infectious diseases.
All of them have an increase in white cell in the blood, which indicates infections, so we have given them antibiotics as a precaution, Chokedamrongsuk said.
Apart from the coach, the age ranges given by the doctor indicate that the youngest son in different groups 11 -year-old Chanin Wiboonrungrueng is still in the cave.
Overnight, the entrepreneur Elon Musk posted on social media that he had personally delivered a child-sized submarine to the site which he has developed to assist with the operation, but it is unlikely to play a role.
Although his technology is good and sophisticated, its not practical for this mission, Osatanakorn told after the press conference.
Osatanakorn announced the start of the latest rescue mission to applause and cheers in the local government courtyard that has become a centre for Thai volunteers and the worlds media.
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.
The Seals, the key force in the operation, posted on their official Facebook page that Tuesday would be a longer day than Monday. But well look forward to celebrating the success. Hooyah.
Additional reporting by Jacob Goldberg and Veena Thoopkrajae