Last five trapped in Thailand cave will be brought out at ‘same time’
Rescuers resume third rescue operation deep into a cave complex in northern Thailand
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.
Narongsak Osottanakorn told a news conference the latest rescue operation began at about 10:08 am local time.
“All five will be brought out at the same time today,” he said, to cheers from reporters and rescue.
Meanwhile, the first eight boys rescued from the Thai cave complex are in good health overall and some asked for chocolate bread for breakfast, officials said.
“At this moment (there are) no worrisome conditions, everyone is safe,” Thailand’s Health Secretary, Jesada Chokedamrongsuk, told reporters.
Two of the boys had suspected lung infections but the four boys from the first group rescued were all walking around their beds.
“The kids are footballers, are strong and have high immunity,” Jesada said when asked why they survived so long.
The boys had a good appetite but were mainly being given bland, easily digestible foods. However, doctors later relented after some of the boys asked for bread with chocolate topping.
They are still being quarantined from their parents because of the risk of infection and would likely be kept in hospital for a week to undergo tests, officials said.
Four more of the boys were carried on stretchers out of the labyrinthine Tham Luang cave on the Myanmar border at dusk on Monday, bringing to eight the number brought out so far after two rescue pushes on successive days.
Monday’s rescue effort took about nine hours, two fewer than the day before, in a sign of growing confidence and expertise.
Each of the rescued boys has been guided through the dark winding cave by a pair of divers.
The plight of the boys and their coach has drawn international attention since they became trapped when they went into the cave after soccer practice on June 23.
Technology billionaire Elon Musk went into the cave on Monday and left the rescue team with a “kid-sized” submarine his company SpaceX had built, Thailand’s interior Minister Anupong Paochinda said.
Musk said on Twitter: “Just returned from Cave 3. Mini-sub is ready if needed. It is made of rocket parts & named Wild Boar after kids’ soccer team. Leaving here in case it may be useful in the future.”
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha visited the cave to inspect the operation and was quoted by Narongsak as saying he didn’t want to see this kind of incident happen again on Thai soil.
Reuters, Associated Press, Agence France-Presse