Thai cave rescue: Boys in quarantine at hospital unable to see family

11 July 2018, 12:52 | Isaac Mcdaniel

4 freed from Thailand cave, but rescuers face 'war with water and time' to get to others

Fighting time, high waters, divers prepare to rescue second group of Thai boys from cave

The boys became trapped in the cave on 23 June after heavy rains caused flooding, but were found alive last week by divers.

Thai authorities said the second phase of the operation to rescue a youth soccer team trapped in a flooded cave was underway Monday, a day after four boys were pulled from the complex after more than two weeks underground.

Parents of a Thai boy trapped with his soccer teammates in a cave, wait for their son to be evacuated, in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand, July 9, 2018.

The head of the rescue mission, Narongsak Osottanakorn, said last week they would bring the fittest people in the group out first.

Narongsak described Sunday's initial rescue bid as "D-Day" when it was launched, and there were fears that any one of many potential pitfalls could prove deadly. Authorities have said extracting the entire team from the cave could take up to four days, but Sunday's success raised hopes that it could be done faster.

The soccer team had been trapped in the underground cave network since June 23, with flash floods causing water levels to rise, making it hard to get out.

He said the boys rescued Sunday were strong and safe but needed to undergo medical checks.

After the ambulance was seen leaving the complex at around 5 p.M. Monday, a helicopter took off. Authorities have said helicopters were ready to take cave evacuees to a hospital.

"You start to hallucinate, you see things, you hear things", said Dr. Robert Glatter, emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital.

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Four more of the trapped soccer team were rescued this morning, bringing the total to eight.

Among those are United States military partners, British cave diving experts - including the two men who first located the boys a week ago - and rescue workers from Australia, China and other countries. Having completed this section, the boys are then handed over to separate, specialist rescue teams, who help assist them through the remainder of the cave, much of which they can wade through.

A source involved in the rescue mission who saw two of the four boys walk out of the cave told Reuters that they looked exhausted but healthy, adding that one even looked "vivacious and fresh". Thai Navy SEALs later announced two more had been freed in what Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn called a "very smooth operation".

The boys, who have not been identified, were kept away from visitors due to concerns about possible infection.

On Sunday night, Thai navy SEALs posted a celebratory note on their Facebook page, saying: "Have sweet dreams everyone".

"The weather conditions and other environments today are as good as yesterday".

None of the trapped boys has ever been diving before and some do not even know how to swim.

The boys will have to navigate through submerged passageways in some places no more than two feet (0.6 metre) wide. Kanet said the boys will be treated as disaster victims and given psychological evaluations and other assistance after their ordeal.

Thai authorities said the rescuers, who were fully equipped, had spent five hours from the entrance of the cave to reach the children and six hours, including a break, to bring them back.



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