Rescuers Launch Mission To Extract 13 Boys Trapped In Thai Cave

| July 8 , 2018 , 12:46 IST

A rescue operation has been launched on Sunday morning for the 12 school boys and their 25-year-old coach who went missing in a Thailand cave on June 23, and were found alive 4 km from the mouth of the cave on July 2. The dangerous rescue mission is expected to take 2-4 days, authorities said, with the first survivor expected to emerge in 11 hours.

The rescue mission is being conducted by 13 international divers and 5 members of Thailand’s elite navy SEAL unit who will attempt to bring out the boys through dangerous narrow submerged passages.

“Today is D-Day,” Narongsak Osottanakorn, head of the rescue mission, told reporters. “At 10 am today (0300 GMT) 13 foreign divers went in to extract the children along with 5 Thai navy SEALs”.

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The rescue mission was launched after rains soaked the Tham Luang Cave area in northern Chiang Rai province for the past 24 hours increasing the risks for the stranded boys.

The trapped boys include some as young as 11 years old, and not strong swimmers. A comprehensive response crew has been positioned outside the cave, including a medical unit, ambulance and helicopter.

The head of the rescue mission Narongsak added that the health of all the trapped boys was checked on Saturday night by an Australian doctor who is part of the rescue crew.

The boys aged between 11 and 16 years and their 25-year-old coach went missing on June 23, prompting a massive search. It's believed that the group entered the cave when it was dry while they were on a field trip, but sudden heavy rains blocked the exit, with rushing water clogging the narrow passages with mud and debris, restricting visibility and access.