Published: Tue, July 10, 2018
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Rescuers To Extract Final Five From Thai Cave Tuesday

Rescuers To Extract Final Five From Thai Cave Tuesday

The third phase of an operation to rescue four remaining boys and their soccer coach trapped inside a flooded Thai cave began on Tuesday morning, the head of the rescue mission said.

The unsafe underwater rescues - considered a last resort - involve two divers accompanying each of the boys, none of whom had experience diving before they were found on July 2.

Monday's rescue mission, which saw four boys extracted before dusk and whisked to Chiang Rai hospital, took around nine hours.

At a news conference Monday, former Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn said the second rescue involved numerous same divers who brought the four boys out on Sunday.

Thailand has been riveted by the dramatic rescue mission to save the "Wild Boars" team after they first got trapped in Tham Luang more than two weeks ago by rising floodwaters. A health official said Tuesday that all eight boys are in "high spirits".

"They [the first four] will be kept away from their parents for a while because we are concerned about infections", he said, before adding that doctors would decide on family visits and the boys would be kept "at a distance" or seen "through glass".

In the past two days, eight boys were rescued and are now in a hospital isolation ward while they are tested for any possible infections. He asked for three more days to complete the rescue mission.

But with oxygen levels in their chamber falling to unsafe levels and complete flooding of the cave system possible, rescuers decided on the least-worst option of having divers escort them out through the extremely narrow and water-filled tunnels.

"We expect that if there is no unusual condition. the four boys, one coach, the doctor, and three Seals who have been with the boys since the first day will will come out today", he told a press conference to loud cheering.

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It was the second trip down the dark and narrow passageways for some of the rescue team members, according to The Guardian. The second operation started at 11 a.m. local time Monday (midnight ET).

On Friday, the death of a former Thai navy SEAL underscored the risks.

An ambulance with flashing lights left the cave rescue area in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand, Monday.

To date, each rescued boy has been escorted through the labyrinthine cave by two divers, each of them holding an oxygen tank that feeds to the survivor's mask.

"We have more expertise than yesterday", he said.

The remaining five members of the Thai soccer team will be rescued from the cave today, officials have confirmed.

However, the boys and their coach are facing malnutrition, dehydration and other unknown ailments. His rocket company SpaceX has developed a "tiny, kid-size submarine" to help with the rescue and Musk said it was "ready if needed".

Fifa's president invited the team to fly to Russian Federation to watch the World Cup final, which is scheduled to take place on Sunday.

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