Cave rescue: Four more boys rescued by Thai Navy divers

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BY BBC NEWS,9TH JULY 2018-Divers have rescued four more boys from a vast flooded cave system in northern Thailand on the second day of a complex operation.

The Thai Navy Seals leading the rescue operation have confirmed that eight boys in total have been extracted.

Four boys and their football coach remain inside the caves.

The group was trapped in the cave on 23 June after heavy rains caused flooding, and was found alive last week by divers.

Four boys were brought out safely on Sunday, but the mission was paused overnight for air tanks to be replaced.

Before the confirmation that four more boys had been rescued on Monday, air ambulances were seen departing from the cave system and ambulances arriving at the hospital in the nearby town of Chiang Rai.

Rescuers decided to go ahead with the operation to free the group because of fears that waters would rise again.

The rescue is complicated by sections in the cave involving diving – sometimes in a very confined space – and climbing.

Rescue mission chief Narongsak Osottanakorn said the operation had resumed at 11:00 local time (04:00 GMT) on Monday and would conclude at 21:00.

“More personnel” were being used than on Sunday, he added.

The names of the rescued boys have not been released out of respect for the families whose sons were still inside, and they have not been reunited with their own families, the mission chief said.

He said physical contact with loved ones would be avoided until a risk of infection had passed, though contact through glass or at a distance might be allowed.

Mr Narongsak allayed concerns that recent heavy rain might have raised water levels, saying conditions were “as good as yesterday”.

Rescuers took advantage of a break in the rain on Sunday to launch the mission earlier than some expected.

The first stage of the mission ran “smoothly” and the rescued boys were in “good health”, according to the Thai authorities.

‘Daring to believe’

By Martin Patience, Chiang Rai

Outside the hospital where the boys were being received, there was a heavy police and media presence.

Early in the afternoon, the sound of a helicopter thudded overhead. It was a sign that the rescue operation was going to plan.

A few minutes later, a convoy with an ambulance swept through the streets and swung into the hospital entrance. It was carrying the first boy rescued on Monday.

Then as dusk was falling, a small crowd of locals gathered outside the hospital. Word was filtering out that more boys had been rescued. People were straining to catch a glimpse of the unfolding drama.

It came in the form of the flashing lights of three more ambulances – signifying the rescue of three more boys.

The rescue operation will resume on Tuesday. It is not yet over and is still fraught with danger. But people here are daring to believe what seemed impossible a little over week ago – that all the boys and their coach will come out of the cave alive.

How are the boys being moved?

A team of 90 expert divers – 40 from Thailand and 50 from overseas – has been working in the cave system.

They have been guiding the boys through darkness and submerged passageways towards the mouth of the Tham Luang cave system.

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