Thailand rescue: All 12 boys and their coach saved

0
Have your say

All 12 boys and their football coach have been rescued from a flooded cave in northern Thailand, ending an ordeal that lasted more than two weeks, the country’s navy Seals said.

The remaining four boys and coach were rescued today, after other rescues in the previous two days.

A helicopter believed to be carrying one of the rescued boys from the flooded cave lands in Chiang Rai. Picture; AP

A helicopter believed to be carrying one of the rescued boys from the flooded cave lands in Chiang Rai. Picture; AP

The Seals said they are still waiting for a medic and three navy Seals who stayed with the boys to emerge from the cave.

Seven divers in the rescue team were from the UK, including Rick Stanton and John Volanthen, who were the first to reach the group last week.

Twelve boys and their 25-year-old football coach were trapped by flooding in the cave more than two weeks ago.

Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osatanakorn, who is heading the rescue effort, said today’s operation involved 19 divers.

Ambulances leave the Tham Luang cave area / AFP PHOTO / YE AUNG THUYE AUNG THU/AFP/Getty Images

Ambulances leave the Tham Luang cave area / AFP PHOTO / YE AUNG THUYE AUNG THU/AFP/Getty Images

“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 come out today,” he told a news conference to loud cheering.

Seven divers in the rescue team are from the UK, including Rick Stanton and John Volanthen who were the first to reach the group last week.

The British Cave Rescue Council has been posting updates throughout the operation.

The eight boys brought out by divers over the previous two days are in “high spirits” and have strong immune systems because they are football players, a senior health official said.

This photo tweeted by Elon Musk shows efforts underway to rescue trapped members of a youth soccer team from a flooded cave in northern Thailand. (Courtesy of Elon Musk via AP)

This photo tweeted by Elon Musk shows efforts underway to rescue trapped members of a youth soccer team from a flooded cave in northern Thailand. (Courtesy of Elon Musk via AP)

Doctors were being cautious because of the infection risk and were isolating the boys in the hospital.

They did get a treat, however: bread with chocolate spread that they had requested.

The plight of the boys and their coach has riveted Thailand and much of the world - from the heart-sinking news they were missing to the first flickering video of the huddle of anxious yet smiling boys when they were found 10 days later by the British divers.

One of the boys appeared to be wearing a red replica England football shirt.

Rescuers walk toward the entrance to a cave complex where five were still trapped. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Rescuers walk toward the entrance to a cave complex where five were still trapped. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

They were trapped in the Tham Luan Nang Non cave that became flooded by monsoon rains while they were exploring it after football practice on June 23.

Jedsada Chokdumrongsuk, permanent secretary at the Public Health Ministry, said the first four boys rescued, aged 12 to 16, are now able to eat normal food, though they cannot yet take the spicy dishes favoured by many Thais.

Two of the boys possibly have a lung infection but all eight are generally “healthy and smiling”, he said.

“The kids are footballers so they have high immune systems,” Mr Jedsada said.

“Everyone is in high spirits and are happy to get out. But we will have a psychiatrist to evaluate them.”

It could be at least seven days before they can be released from hospital, Mr Jedsada told a news conference.

Family members have seen at least some of the boys from behind a glass isolation barrier, and Mr Jedsada said doctors may let the boys walk around their beds on Tuesday.

Mr Jedsada said they were uncertain what type of infections the boys could face “because we have never experienced this kind of issue from a deep cave”.

At least nine ambulances and a convoy of other vehicles were at the cave site on Tuesday.