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3rd Thai cave rescue mission underway

10 July, 2018, 14:16 | Author: Drew Briggs
  • Police and military personnel use umbrellas to cover around a stretcher near the rescue

Rescue teams in Thailand have begun what they hope will be their final dive deep into the Tham Luang caves to bring out the last four boys trapped there for 17 days, along with their 25-year old football coach.

The head of the rescue mission, Acting Chiang Rai Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn, said 18 divers and a support team of 100 took nine hours in the second phase of rescues at the Tham Luang cave on Monday, as opposed to 11 hours on Sunday.

Rescuers resumed preparations on Tuesday for a third rescue operation deep into a cave complex in northern Thailand to free four remaining boys and their soccer coach in a race against time and monsoon weather.

So far eight of the boys have been rescued.

Tech-billionaire Elon Musk also said that he has visited the site of the rescue operation and has delivered them a mini-submarine to be used if necessary.

The second phase of a rescue operation has ended for the day, with more than half of the Thai soccer team rescued from the cave.

Less than an hour after the helicopter took off, Thai public television aired live video of a medivac helicopter landing close to a hospital in the city of Chiang Rai, around 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the cave.

The plight of the boys and their coach has drawn worldwide attention, with divers, engineers and medics among others flying in from around the world to assist.

Two of the first boys had mild lung infections which could be pneumonia but, he said, most of the boys were "fine, normal" and had undergone a battery of tests, X-rays, and received vaccinations.

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Today's rescue mission began at around 10 a.m. local time.

He was taken by helicopter and then ambulance to the hospital in Chiang Rai were the first four boys, who were rescued on Sunday, are now being held in quarantine as they undergo tests.

On Sunday, officials said it could "take days" to rescue the remaining boys and their coach.

The eight boys who've been rescued so far have all swum out of the cave, each escorted by two expert divers.

The leaders overseeing the desperate and unsafe rescue of 12 young soccer players and their coach from a flooded cave labyrinth in northern Thailand were only half joking when they quipped that success was in the hands of the rain god Phra Pirun.

Although there have been no major reported complications during the initial rescues, the death of a former Thai Navy SEAL diver who ran out of oxygen in a flooded area of the cave on Friday underscored the dangers of the journey.

Doctors were being cautious because of the infection risk and were isolating the boys in the hospital. "But if the rain god doesn't help, then it could be challenging", Narongsak said.

The rescue missions take almost half a day to complete.

Monday's mission involved 18 divers from Thailand and overseas. His rocket company SpaceX has developed a "tiny, kid-size submarine" to help with the rescue and Musk said it was "ready if needed".

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