Rescuers bring eighth person out of Thai cave on second day of rescue: witness

Rescuers bring eighth person out of Thai cave on second day of rescue: witness
PHOTO: Reuters

CHIANG RAI, Thailand - Rescue workers in Thailand brought out four people on Monday from a flooded cave where 12 boys and their football coach were trapped for more than two weeks, apparently taking the total number rescued to eight.

A Reuters witness near the Tham Luang cave in the northern province of Chiang Rai saw medical personnel carrying four people out of the cave to waiting ambulances over the course of the day.

The rescue operation was launched on Sunday and four boys were brought out that day. They were in good condition in hospital, officials said.

on Facebook

หมูป่าตัวที่ 1 หมู่ป่าตัวที่ 2 หมูป่าตัวที่ 3 หมูป่าตัวที่ 4 หมูป่าตัวที่ 5 หมูป่าตัวที่ 6 หมูป่าตัวที่ 7 หมูป่าตัวที่...

Posted by Thai NavySEAL on Monday, 9 July 2018

A fifth boy was brought out earlier on Monday, a navy official said, and three more were seen being brought out over subsequent hours.

Reuters could not confirm the identity of the three people brought out in the evening and the chief of the rescue mission, Narongsak Osottanakorn, declined to comment, saying a news conference would be held later on Monday.

Thai cave rescue: How each boy is extracted in complex process

  • Open gallery

    The 10-km long Tham Luang cave, which has been described as a labyrinth, sits near the Thai border with Myanmar.

  • Open gallery

    Rescue divers began operations on Sunday (July 8) to extract the 12 boys and their football coach from the massive Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

  • Open gallery

    Here's how the 12 boys might dive and walk out of the complex cave network. (Graphic Not drawn to scale)

  • Open gallery

    The boys are located more than 4km from the mouth of the cave. Most of the boys don't know how to swim.

  • Open gallery

    According to experts, divers required three hours to reach the boys from the mouth of the cave, Reuters reported. The boys' ordeal is expected to last 3 or more hours.

  • Open gallery

    This undated handout photo taken recently and released by the Royal Thai Navy on July 7, 2018 shows a Thai Navy diver in the cave during rescue operations.

  • Open gallery

    The boys will have to first dive for 400m before reaching Pattaya Beach, a chamber more than 4km from the cave's entrance. Then, they have to dive for another 130m before walking and climbing along a 400m-long dry area.

  • Open gallery

    The first, nearly 1km-long section from where the boys have been huddling in darkness is believed to be the most difficult, requiring a long dive and crawling through mud and debris, with some crevices barely wide enough for a person.

  • Open gallery

    The 5-km escape route cuts through dark, flooded and narrow passageways, as this still from a video circulating online shows.

  • Open gallery

    How each boy will be tethered to the 2 adult rescue divers. Once past the first stretch, the boys' escape route forks east at a T-junction, and they must scrabble over some diverse terrain including giant boulders, sand and slippery rocks with sudden cliff-like drops and further submerged passageways.

  • Open gallery

    The biggest crisis spot is a 38-cm-wide crevice close to the T-junction, known as Sam Yaek Junction.

  • Open gallery

    The biggest crisis spot is a 38-cm-wide crevice close to the T-junction, known as Sam Yaek Junction.

  • Open gallery

    "The hole is really small, I have to take off my air tank to crawl through it," a 25-year-old Thai Navy Seal told Reuters before the rescue attempt. "As I do, I feel the edges of the hole on both my back and chest."

  • Open gallery

    Rescue divers will have to remove their scuba tanks and roll them along while guiding the boys through. After that though, the tunnels widen, the waters subside, and walking is even possible.

  • Open gallery

    There are several 'choke points' in the complex cave network. After the dreaded T-junction, the rest of the journey is expected to be relatively safe as they will have reached a forward operating base inside the cave.

  • Open gallery

    Ambulances wait at the mouth of the cave to whisk the boys away to hospital when they emerge.

  • Open gallery

    Divers resuming the rescue mission on Monday (July 9).

  • Open gallery

    Police and military personnel use umbrellas to cover around a stretcher near a helicopter and an ambulance at a military airport in Chiang Rai on July 9, 2018.

  • Open gallery

    Rescuers venturing into the cave in a photo released on July 7 by the Thai Royal Navy.

  • Open gallery

    The high-risk operation at the Tham Luang caves paused overnight on Sunday (July 8) as rescuers recovered and oxygen tanks were replenished along the route.

  • Open gallery

    Torchlight only affords visibility up to three feet in the murky waters.

  • Open gallery
  • Open gallery
  • Open gallery
  • Open gallery

    A nearby hospital ready to receive the boys after they are rescued.

The "Wild Boars" football team and their coach got trapped on June 23 when they set out to explore the vast cave complex after football practice, when a rainy season downpour flooded the tunnels.

British divers found the 13, huddled on a muddy bank in a partly flooded chamber several kilometers inside the complex, on Monday last week.

The dangerous bid to rescue the boys - aged between 11 and 16 - got going again hours earlier on Monday after a break to replenish oxygen supplies and make other preparations deep inside the cave complex.

Authorities have said the mission could take three or four days to complete. It is a race against the clock with heavy rain expected in coming days, which would again dangerously flood the tunnels with fast flowing, and rising, water.

Thai cave rescue: How each boy is extracted in complex process

  • Open gallery

    The 10-km long Tham Luang cave, which has been described as a labyrinth, sits near the Thai border with Myanmar.

  • Open gallery

    Rescue divers began operations on Sunday (July 8) to extract the 12 boys and their football coach from the massive Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

  • Open gallery

    Here's how the 12 boys might dive and walk out of the complex cave network. (Graphic Not drawn to scale)

  • Open gallery

    The boys are located more than 4km from the mouth of the cave. Most of the boys don't know how to swim.

  • Open gallery

    According to experts, divers required three hours to reach the boys from the mouth of the cave, Reuters reported. The boys' ordeal is expected to last 3 or more hours.

  • Open gallery

    This undated handout photo taken recently and released by the Royal Thai Navy on July 7, 2018 shows a Thai Navy diver in the cave during rescue operations.

  • Open gallery

    The boys will have to first dive for 400m before reaching Pattaya Beach, a chamber more than 4km from the cave's entrance. Then, they have to dive for another 130m before walking and climbing along a 400m-long dry area.

  • Open gallery

    The first, nearly 1km-long section from where the boys have been huddling in darkness is believed to be the most difficult, requiring a long dive and crawling through mud and debris, with some crevices barely wide enough for a person.

  • Open gallery

    The 5-km escape route cuts through dark, flooded and narrow passageways, as this still from a video circulating online shows.

  • Open gallery

    How each boy will be tethered to the 2 adult rescue divers. Once past the first stretch, the boys' escape route forks east at a T-junction, and they must scrabble over some diverse terrain including giant boulders, sand and slippery rocks with sudden cliff-like drops and further submerged passageways.

  • Open gallery

    The biggest crisis spot is a 38-cm-wide crevice close to the T-junction, known as Sam Yaek Junction.

  • Open gallery

    The biggest crisis spot is a 38-cm-wide crevice close to the T-junction, known as Sam Yaek Junction.

  • Open gallery

    "The hole is really small, I have to take off my air tank to crawl through it," a 25-year-old Thai Navy Seal told Reuters before the rescue attempt. "As I do, I feel the edges of the hole on both my back and chest."

  • Open gallery

    Rescue divers will have to remove their scuba tanks and roll them along while guiding the boys through. After that though, the tunnels widen, the waters subside, and walking is even possible.

  • Open gallery

    There are several 'choke points' in the complex cave network. After the dreaded T-junction, the rest of the journey is expected to be relatively safe as they will have reached a forward operating base inside the cave.

  • Open gallery

    Ambulances wait at the mouth of the cave to whisk the boys away to hospital when they emerge.

  • Open gallery

    Divers resuming the rescue mission on Monday (July 9).

  • Open gallery

    Police and military personnel use umbrellas to cover around a stretcher near a helicopter and an ambulance at a military airport in Chiang Rai on July 9, 2018.

  • Open gallery

    Rescuers venturing into the cave in a photo released on July 7 by the Thai Royal Navy.

  • Open gallery

    The high-risk operation at the Tham Luang caves paused overnight on Sunday (July 8) as rescuers recovered and oxygen tanks were replenished along the route.

  • Open gallery

    Torchlight only affords visibility up to three feet in the murky waters.

  • Open gallery
  • Open gallery
  • Open gallery
  • Open gallery

    A nearby hospital ready to receive the boys after they are rescued.

The rescue team went into the cave to resume the operation at 11 a.m. (0400 GMT), Narongsak told a news conference earlier, adding he expected good news.

Thirteen foreign divers and five members of Thailand's elite navy SEAL unit make up the main team guiding the boys to safety through narrow, submerged passageways that claimed the life of a former Thai navy diver on Friday.

Narongsak said that the "same multinational team" that went into the cave on Sunday to retrieve the first four boys was deployed on Monday.

He did not say how many boys the team hoped to bring out on Monday.

On Sunday, divers held the first four boys close to bring them out, and each had to wear an oxygen mask to enable normal breathing, authorities said.

Narongsak said rescuers had to tighten a guide rope as part of their preparations for the second phase of the rescue on Monday.

Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda told reporters the four boys rescued on Sunday were in good health in hospital but did not give details. There was no word on the condition of any of the people brought out on Monday.

All 13 members of Thai junior football team found in flooded cave

  • Open gallery

    Parents of the boys trapped in the Chiang Rai cave shed tears of joy and relief on Wednesday morning as they watched a video of them being treated for minor injuries.

  • Open gallery

    The Royal Thai Navy SEALS shot the video and posted it on their “ThaiSEAL” Facebook page, showing the 12 boys noticeably thinner and looking exhausted.

  • Open gallery

    But the boys swaddled in silvery blankets proclaim themselves in good health in the clip.

  • Open gallery

    Their parents watched the video while they were waiting to talk to the boys via a specially rigged phone system.

  • Open gallery

    They reaffirmed their love for the children and said they were forgiven for going astray, since none of them could have expected the June 23 cave excursion would turn into a nail-biting 10-day drama, with no clear end yet in sight.

  • Open gallery

    Attention has now turned to how to get the group back out through several kilometers of dangerously flooded tunnels.

  • Open gallery

    The navy has raised the possibility that the 13 could be in the Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai province until the flood waters recede, at the end of the rainy season in four months.

  • Open gallery

    But others say the boys could be out in a matter of days if the weather is on their side and water can be pumped out of the cave complex, and if they can be taught to use scuba gear.

  • Open gallery

    Kobchai Boonarana, deputy director-general of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation department, said it was up to the rescue team in the cave to decide whether and when the boys would be strong enough to tackle the journey out.

  • Open gallery
  • Open gallery
  • Open gallery

    “We miss them and want to see them get out very soon,” one parent said as the video played. “They look thinner, but we’re happy they’re safe.”

  • Open gallery

    Rescuers found all 12 boys and their football coach alive inside the flooded Tham Luang Cave Monday night.

  • Open gallery

    The 13 victims from a local football club, Mu Pa Academy Mae Sai, have been stranded inside the cave in Chiang Rai province because of flash floods since June 23.

  • Open gallery

    The group, mostly seated and with baggy football shirts pulled over their knees and illuminated by torchlight, asked for food and to leave the cave immediately, according to the video taken late Monday and shared on the official Facebook page of the Thai Navy SEALS.

  • Open gallery

    The group appeared exhausted, rake thin, sensitive to the light but lucid, with some speaking faltering English to try to communicate with the unidentified diver.

  • Open gallery
  • Open gallery

    Family members celebrate while camping out near Than Luang cave following news all members of children's football team and their coach were alive in the cave at Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province late July 2, 2018.

  • Open gallery
  • Open gallery

    The Chiang Rai governor praised and gave credits to two British cave diving experts who found the missing team. He did not mention the names but it is understood to be John Volanthen and Richard Stanton (pic, in blue).

  • Open gallery

    Three British cave-divers, Richard William Stanton (L), John Volanthen (2nd-L) and Robert Charles Harper (3rd-L) arrive at Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park near the Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai on June 27, 2018

  • Open gallery

    12 boys, aged between 11 and 16, and their 25-year old assistant football coach went missing on Saturday after they decided to explore the Tham Luang cave complex in Chiang Rai province,

  • Open gallery

    despite a sign warning visitors that the maze of passages and chambers was prone to flooding.

  • Open gallery

    Bicycles and football shoes belonging to the boys were found near the entrance, and rescue workers think handprints inside the cave could have been left by the group.

  • Open gallery

    But the search has so far yielded no other trace.

  • Open gallery

    The race to find the boys has gripped the Southeast Asian nation

  • Open gallery

    International rescue teams, including one sent by the United States Pacific Command (PACOM),

  • Open gallery

    are assisting the Thai army, navy and police in a search operation that has been hampered by heavy rain.

  • Open gallery

    Plans to drill into the mountainside overnight to drain water from inside the vast cave complex have been partially successful.

  • Open gallery

    The 10-kilometre cave is one of Thailand's longest. Visitors are usually only allowed up to 800 meters inside the cave, which has a reputation for being difficult to navigate.

  • Open gallery

    Exhausted family members have been keeping vigil near the cave as they await news about their loved ones.

  • Open gallery
  • Open gallery

    Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha visited the site, offering encouragement to rescuers and comfort to relatives.

  • Open gallery

    "Whatever can be done, do it, the government will back it," said Prayuth.

  • Open gallery

    "They're athletes. They're strong," he told the boys' relatives in an attempt to comfort them.

  • Open gallery
  • Open gallery
  • Open gallery
  • Open gallery
  • Open gallery
  • Open gallery
  • Open gallery
  • Open gallery
  • Open gallery

INFECTION FEARS

Authorities have not confirmed the identity of the first four boys rescued. Some of the boys' parents told Reuters they had not been told who had been rescued and that they were not allowed to visit the hospital.

Narongsak said the first four rescued boys had not been identified out of respect for the families whose sons were still trapped, adding that the boys were being kept away from their parents due to fear of infection.

"The four children are well at Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital. But they still need to be kept away from their parents and others due to fear about infection," he said.

Medical teams previously said concerns included hypothermia and an airborne lung infection known as "cave disease", which is caused by bat and bird droppings.

Somboon Sompiangjai, 38, the father of one of the trapped boys, said parents were told by rescuers ahead of Sunday's operation the "strongest children" would be brought out first.

"We have not been told which child has been brought out ... We can't visit our boys in hospital because they need to be monitored for 48 hours," Somboon told Reuters.

"I'm hoping for good news today," he said.

Also read: 4 Thai schoolboys rescued from flooded cave

WORLD CUP FINAL

At least nine ambulances loaded with stretchers and blue oxygen tanks waited by the mouth of the cave on Monday. Soldiers, medics, engineers and volunteers in yellow shirts milled around but the mood was relaxed.

"I feel very happy, everybody is happy," said Hnin Jaiwong, the mother of one of the trapped boys, 13-year-old Sompong Jaiwong.

"I don't know if he is out, they didn't tell us," she said as she rested in a hut close to the mouth of the cave.

The cave complex is off-limits during the rainy season, which usually runs from May to October, when downpours can quickly flood it.

Relatives said the boys had been inside the labyrinthine complex during the dry season.

The fate of the boys and their coach has gripped Thailand and drawn international media attention.

The president of football's governing body, FIFA, has invited the boys to the World Cup final in Moscow on Sunday if they make it out in time.

Touching memes celebrate success of #ThaiCaveRescue mission

Your daily good stuff - AsiaOne stories delivered straight to your inbox
By signing up, you agree to our Privacy policy and Terms and Conditions.