Fri | Sep 21, 2018

Four rescued from Thai cave in risky operation; nine left to go

Published:Monday | July 9, 2018 | 12:00 AM

MAE SAI(AP):

Rescuers in northern Thailand on Sunday extracted four members of a youth soccer team from the cave where they had been trapped for more than two weeks, part of an ongoing operation to rescue the 12 boys and their coach. The head of the operation said it was going "better than expected".

The operation to rescue the boys, ages 11-16, and their 25-year-old coach by having them dive out of the flooded cave began Sunday morning, with expert divers entering the sprawling complex for the complicated and dangerous mission.

Shortly before 8 p.m., Thai navy SEALs, who are taking part in the rescue operation, reported on their official Facebook page that four had been rescued.

Chiang Rai acting Gov Narongsak Osatanakorn, who is heading the operation, said the four boys had been taken to a hospital.

 

'Better than expected'

 

"The operation went much better than expected," Narongsak said at a news conference, adding that the healthiest were taken out first. He said the next phase of the operation would start in 10-20 hours. The entire operation to rescue all 13 could last two to four days, depending on weather and water conditions, said army Maj Gen Chalongchai Chaiyakam.

Just after 9 p.m., Thai navy SEALs posted on their Facebook page again, saying: "Have sweet dreams everyone. Good night. Hooyah."

Narongsak said earlier in the day that 13 foreign and five Thai divers were taking part in the rescue and that two divers would accompany each boy as they're gradually extracted.