Thai cave rescue: Condition of footballer listed as 'red' getting better

The condition of one of the Mu Pa footballers rescued from the Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai on Sunday, which had been a cause for concern, is improving, a source said.

He had been listed as "red", signifying a serious case after being trapped in the cave since June 23. However, he is recovering and is now listed as "yellow", which is stable, after being evacuated from the cave on Sunday and admitted to Chiangrai Prachanukroh Hospital. 

A Twitter user, Lisa Wilkinson, quoted Australian medical expert Dr Richard Harris who examined the 13 Mu Pa Academy members in the cave as saying that the weakest boys would be brought out first. This was contrary to earlier statements from the rescue team that the strongest will come out first.

Wilkinson claimed that the weakest boy was listed as code red, meaning a serious case. At 9pm on Sunday, four boys had been evacuated from the cave.

READ ALSO: 4 Thai schoolboys rescued from flooded cave

Hospital fully prepared to receive rescued youths

Authorities as well the Chiangrai Prachanukroh Hospital were yesterday arranging the quickest possible evacuation and related assistance to the 13 footballers as soon as they come out of the flooded Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai.

Police have sealed off the area in front of the hospital in Muang district with green garden shades and directed the media crew to the Ban Den Ha School a little further down the road. The Rob Wiang Road section from the intersection behind the hospital and the San Khong intersection was also closed from 3pm onwards, while the nearby San Khong School and Chiang Rai Educational Service Area Office 1 would also be closed. 

Media members walking to the area opposite the hospital said that reporters, hospital staff members or nearby residents were not allowed to take photos by camera or phones in the area or officials guarding the front area would confiscate their devices. The hospital has arranged another entrance to accommodate other patients and their relatives while reserving the front entrance for the mission to aid the footballers, the observing reporters said.

The “DDay” evacuation operation earlier yesterday had expected the first of the youths to emerge from the cave at around 9pm but it was reported that at least two were brought out as of press time.

According to the previous medical aid plan, the footballers would be kept in the hospital’s well-equipped sterile isolation room for one to two days after being brought out before their parents and relatives could see and visit them. They would receive first-aid at the cave park and then be transported via either a 15-minute helicopter ride or a one-hour ambulance ride to the hospital depending on their condition.

Touching memes celebrate success of #ThaiCaveRescue mission

Meanwhile, Chiang Mai-based Suanprung Psychiatric Hospital deputy director and psychiatrist Dr Paritat Silpakit, who led the team assigned to provide mental healthcare to the youths and their relatives, said the team would provide assistance to them depending on their condition and would task another local team in Mae Sai district to follow up on the long-term progress in their mental recovery.

In the meantime, Chiang Rai Social Development and Human Security Office head Anira Thinont affirmed that her agency officials, who were taking care of the youths’ relatives in the tents outside the cave, would follow the relatives to the hospital once the youths are brought out. 

The hospital has prepared accommodation for 50 registered relatives of the victims in nearby places so they could visit the youths once the boys are cleared by the preliminary check-up in the sterilised room.

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

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • But the boys swaddled in silvery blankets proclaim themselves in good health in the clip.
  • Their parents watched the video while they were waiting to talk to the boys via a specially rigged phone system.
  • 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.
  • Attention has now turned to how to get the group back out through several kilometers of dangerously flooded tunnels.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • “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.”
  • Rescuers found all 12 boys and their football coach alive inside the flooded Tham Luang Cave Monday night.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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
  • 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,
  • despite a sign warning visitors that the maze of passages and chambers was prone to flooding.
  • 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.
  • But the search has so far yielded no other trace.
  • The race to find the boys has gripped the Southeast Asian nation
  • International rescue teams, including one sent by the United States Pacific Command (PACOM),
  • are assisting the Thai army, navy and police in a search operation that has been hampered by heavy rain.
  • Plans to drill into the mountainside overnight to drain water from inside the vast cave complex have been partially successful.
  • 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.
  • Exhausted family members have been keeping vigil near the cave as they await news about their loved ones.
  • Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha visited the site, offering encouragement to rescuers and comfort to relatives.
  • "Whatever can be done, do it, the government will back it," said Prayuth.
  • "They're athletes. They're strong," he told the boys' relatives in an attempt to comfort them.

Anira said the officials would gather information on the youths for the Chiang Rai Child and Family Home to devise measures for assistance in various aspects as per the Child Protection Act. 

Home director Charan Siriwan said the officials would help the youths with their long-term mental recovery while also providing necessary aid to assistant coach Ekkapon Chantawongse, who was 25 and was beyond their authority, and his relatives.