By Jason Owens
July 9, 2018 - More good news arrived Monday from the ongoing rescue of 12 boys and a coach from a youth soccer team trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand for 17 days.
The Thai Navy Seals, who have played a critical role in the treacherous rescue efforts, confirmed that four more boys were retrieved from the Tham Luang Nang Non cave. The news comes after four boys were rescued when the operation began on Sunday.
Four Boys, Coach Still Trapped in Cave
That leaves four boys and the 25-year-old coach of the Wild Boar soccer team still trapped in the cave with rescuers planning to resume efforts Tuesday.
“I insist that all 13 will be safe and sound,” Chiang Rai provincial Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn said at a news conference on Monday.
Rescuers navigating a perilous 2.5 mile stretch of narrow, flooded tunnels have saved eight of the 13 members of a soccer team trapped in a Thai cave.
Photo by Getty
The painstaking rescue has required breaks to allow the group of 18 elite divers to rest and replenish the cave with oxygen for the remaining soccer team members, ABC News reports. Osatanakorn expects the break for the next leg of the mission to last around 20 hours.
Rescuers Hoping Monsoon Rains Hold Off For Final Legs of Rescue
Time is critical as forecast monsoon conditions risk flooding the cave again, putting the remaining team members in the cave in further peril.
The team consisting of boys ages 11 to 16 was initially trapped while exploring the cave when rains flooded their exit path. They found themselves stranded on a dark shelf above the flood waters.
The forecast rains have subsided in recent days as rescuers hope to get another day of relatively dry weather.
“We thank the God of the rain. Asked for there not to be rain,” Osatanakorn said.
The plan laid out has been set to save four at time, leaving in doubt whether rescuing the remaining boys and their coach on the same mission will be possible.
The plan is “set for four people,” Osatanakorn said. “If we bring five we have to change the plan.”
Rescuers Take Perilous Path to Save Boys
Osatanakorn told reporters that Monday’s efforts took nine hours, two hours less that Sunday’s mission. Rescuers equipped with scuba gear have gone about a path of around 2.5 miles of narrow flooded tunnels to save the boys, strategically leaving oxygen tanks along the way.
The rescue effort has already claimed the life of one Navy Seal diver who ran out of oxygen in the cave on Friday.
Officials described the rescued boys as “hungry but happy.” The four rescued on Monday were rushed to a hospital to join their other rescued teammates in quarantine in case of infection. Officials are considering allowing the boys parents visit through a partition, according to Good Morning America.