Four of the 12 boys trapped with their football coach in a flooded cave in Thailand for the past 16 days were successfully rescued by divers made up of international teams in a gruelling subterranean rescue mission that has gripped the attention of the world.
According to Chiang Rai provincial Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn the first four boys saved were rescued from the cave a few moments apart, immediately placed into ambulances and rushed to a hospital in Chiang Rai, He said all of the boys were healthy.
Doctors and nurses ready with IVs were on standby in the emergency bay of the hospital and sprang into action as the boys arrived in separate ambulances, transferring the boys onto gurneys and wheeling them into the ER to be thoroughly examined and treated.
The task of rescuing the remaining boys and their coach was fraught with dangers heightened by the death of a volunteer on Friday; he succumbed to fatal oxygen deprivation.
Fighting floodwaters, rapidly dropping oxygen levels in the shadows of an impending monsoon rainstorm, the rescue operation began at 10 a.m. local time when 13 international divers entered the cave, 10 of them headed to the chamber deep inside the underground labyrinth in northern Thailand. Nine hours later, the divers emerged from the mouth of the cavern with the first rescued boy and were quickly followed by the second, authorities said.
When asked when the next rescue operation for the remaining members of the group will commence, Osatanakorn said … “We should be ready in a short period of time. When the next operation will proceed, I cannot give you a definite time. It’s about more than 10 hours away, not more than 20 hours, but we have to observe the conditions. It has to be stable like today. If it’s stable like today, and we are sure, we can operate as soon as possible.”
Authorities said at a press conference Sunday morning in Chiang Rai province that they made the decision to rescue the boys as oxygen drops and the threat of monsoon rains approaches.
The international effort to save the group has paired elite divers in “buddy teams” with the remaining eight boys and their coach.