Rain adds urgency to rescue of last five trapped in cave

Modesto Morganelli
Luglio 10, 2018

Look inside the Tham Luang Cave area in northern Chiang Rai province of Thailand to see the hard task of saving the trapped 12 boys and their football coach.

"The children complained that they were hungry and wanted holy basil stir-fried rice", Narongsak Osottanakorn, the head of the rescue operation, told reporters on Monday, referring to the popular Thai dish.

Officials had said before restarting the efforts that they hoped to have all nine people remaining in the cave rescued by the end of Monday local time.

Thai authorities said the first four rescued Sunday were in "good health" but have been kept in quarantine until the risk of infection subsides.

The search and rescue operation has riveted people in Thailand and internationally, with journalists from across the globe traveling to this town along the border with Myanmar to report on the ordeal.

The first group of four boys to be rescued were led out of the cave by an global team of rescue divers on Sunday.

Technology billionaire Elon Musk went into the cave on Monday and left the rescue team with a "kid-sized" submarine his company SpaceX had built, Thailand's interior Minister Anupong Paochinda said.

A crack team of foreign divers and Thai Navy SEALs guided the boys during a nine-hour operation through almost 4 km (2.5 miles) of sometimes submerged channels from where they have been trapped for more than a fortnight.

Meanwhile, a letter of apology from the coach of the football team was delivered to the boys' parents via the cave divers.

Another two more boys left the cave complex a short time later followed by the fourth boy.

Rescued schoolboys are moved from a military helicopter to an awaiting ambulance at a military airport in Chiang Rai, Thailand, July 9, 2018.

All four were airlifted to a hospital in the nearest city, Chiang Rai.

The first four boys have been allowed to see their families through a glass window as doctors continue to conduct thorough health checks and monitor the boys for any contagious diseases.

Monday's mission involved 18 divers from Thailand and overseas.

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 a pair of British divers. Last Friday, one former Thai Navy Seal died while placing oxygen tanks deep within the caves.

Narongsak said rescuers would meet Monday evening to plan for the next operation. One was that it was unknown how safe and dry the area where they had taken shelter would stay, as Thailand's rainy season, which lasts until at least late October, picks up pace. However, they ended up starting the rescue effort a few hours earlier than planned.

Another and perhaps more worrying concern was that oxygen levels in the complex were falling close to risky levels.

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