All 12 Boys and Coach Rescued from Thai Cave

  • VOA News

    July 11, 2018 08:26

    All 12 boys and their coach have been pulled out of a flooded Thai cave where they and they had been trapped for more than two weeks, according to the Thai Navy SEALs.

    "All 12 'Wild Boars' and coach have been extracted from the cave," a post on their Facebook page said, referring to the boys' soccer team, the Wild Boars. The post added that all were safe and signing off with a "hooyah."

    A later post on Facebook said the last four Thai Navy SEALs had exited the cave safely, including a photo of the four -- two of them giving a thumbs up to the camera.

    Tuesday's rescue happened on the third consecutive day of efforts to rescue the 12 players and their coach, who have been trapped in the Tham Luang cave complex since late June, a span of more than two weeks. Four boys were rescued Sunday, and another four guided to safety on Monday. The remaining boys and their coach were pulled out Tuesday.

    Thai Health Secretary Jedsada Chokdumrongsuk told reporters earlier Tuesday that two of the eight rescued boys had lung infections, but that all of them were generally healthy and in good spirits, thanks to their "high immunity" derived from being footballers.

    Jesada said the boys are being quarantined from family members to prevent them from getting an infection. He said they would likely be in the hospital for at least a week.

    Four Thai Navy Seals are seen after leaving the cave safe during the rescue mission in Chiang Rai, Thailand on July 10, 2018 in this photo obtained from social media. /Reuters

    Monday's rescue attempt took nine hours, two hours shorter than Sunday's initial attempt, providing officials and rescue crews with growing confidence they could pull the remaining players and their 25-year-old coach out safely.

    Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrived in Chiang Rai and visited the eight rescued boys in the hospital Monday night, according to Narongsak Osatanakorn, the acting governor of Chaing Rai state.

    Thirteen international divers and five Thai Navy SEALs were involved in the operation. One volunteer, former Thai Navy SEAL Saman Gunan, died Friday while placing spare air tanks along the escape route. He ran out of air trying to swim out of the cave.

    None of the trapped boys had ever been diving before and some didn't even know how to swim. Two divers were helping each one make his way through very narrow tunnels that twist and turn, and filled with dark muddy water. It took the divers about eight hours to get into the cave, reach the boys, and bring them back out.

    President Donald Trump praised the rescue of the boys and their coach, calling it "such a beautiful moment."

    The anxious families say they have forgiven 25-year-old coach Ekapol Chanthawong, who led the boys on what was supposed to be an innocent adventure in cave exploring more than two weeks ago.

    Monsoon rains had started falling again, causing water levels inside the cave to rise, squeezing the boys in an ever shrinking space inside the cave, and causing oxygen levels to drop.

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