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Rescuers Begin 'Challenging' Final Push To Free Last Five From Thai Cave
13 July 2018, 12:17 | Devin Moran
British caver Vernon Unsworth gets out of a pick up truck near the Tham Luang cave complex
REUTERS Panu Wongcha-um
They have been rushing to extract the boys, aged 11 to 16, and their coach from the cave as the annual monsoon bears down on the mountainous region in the province.
Celebrations will be tinged with sadness over the loss of a former Thai navy diver who died last Friday while on a re-supply mission inside the cave in support of the rescue.
The world continued to wait and watch last night as four more boys were brought out of a flooded cave in northern Thailand.
To date, each rescued boy has been escorted through the labyrinthine cave by two divers, each of them holding an oxygen tank that feeds to the survivor's mask.
The footballers still awaiting rescue are about two kilometers further in, at a point very hard to access. More worrying, however, oxygen levels in the cave were falling. Tuesday's operation began just after 10am.
Thai authorities said the first four rescued Sunday were in "good health" but have been kept in quarantine until the risk of infection subsides. "But we will manage to get them a TV for that [watching the World Cup final]".
The final push is on to rescue the four remaining boys and their football coach trapped in a Thai cave.
Two of the boys had suspected lung infections but the four boys from the first group rescued were all walking around their hospital beds.
"Today (Tuesday) we hope to be faster", Narongsak added, of the complex and risky operation that involves diving through narrow, flooded chambers. They'll also be bringing back 3 Navy SEALS and a medic who have been in the cave with the team since the first day of the rescue efforts.
Onlookers in Chiang Rai, Thailand, watch and cheer as ambulances transport some of the rescued schoolboys from a cave where they were trapped for two weeks.
The generals and other officials overseeing the desperate operation to rescue 12 young soccer players and their coach from a flooded cave labyrinth in Thailand's sweltering far north were only half joking when they quipped Monday that success was in the hands of the rain god Phra Pirun.
"The kids are footballers, are strong and have high immunity", Jesada said when asked why they survived so long.
The second group of 4 that were pulled out afterwards are aged between 12 and 14.
Another five still await rescue, including the team's 25-year-old coach.
American space entrepreneur Elon Musk tweeted that he was in Thailand on Tuesday with a prototype mini-sub, at the flooded cave where five members of a youth football team remained trapped. The heaviest rain tends to fall in late summer.
Eight of the boys were rescued by a team of Thai and worldwide divers on Sunday and Monday.
The third and hopefully final rescue mission is now underway.
The four boys are now "safe and conscious" in hospital after they were extracted from the Tham Luang Nang Non caves in Chiang Rai, officials said.
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