Tham Luang caves, Thailand (CNN)Four of the 12 boys who have been trapped in a flooded cave in northern Thailand for more than two weeks have been rescued, as authorities race against time to free the remaining members of the group.

Confirmation of the initial rescue was posted on the Thai Navy SEAL official Facebook page late Sunday.The first of the four boys emerged approximately nine hours after a team of 13 international cave diving experts and five Thai Navy SEALs entered the cave to begin the hazardous attempt to accompany the boys one by one through the flooded, narrow tunnels.FOLLOW LIVE UPDATESAn ambulance leaves the Tham Luang cave area after divers evacuated some of the 12 boys trapped with their coach for 15 days.An ambulance leaves the Tham Luang cave area after divers evacuated some of the 12 boys trapped with their coach for 15 days.An ambulance leaves the Tham Luang cave area after divers evacuated some of the 12 boys trapped with their coach for 15 days.Families of the boys have been waiting for hours for news since authorities announced the rescue attempt would commence at 10 a.m. local time Sunday, as storm clouds threatened to dump more water on the flooded caverns, undoing efforts to drain them.Read More”Today is D-day,” Chiang Rai’s Governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn declared earlier in the day.A helicopter lands at a military airport in Chiang Rai on Sunday, with its passengers taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital.A helicopter lands at a military airport in Chiang Rai on Sunday, with its passengers taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital.A helicopter lands at a military airport in Chiang Rai on Sunday, with its passengers taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital.Two ambulances leave the military airport in Chiang Rai, headed to a nearby hospital after the rescue operation.Two ambulances leave the military airport in Chiang Rai, headed to a nearby hospital after the rescue operation.Two ambulances leave the military airport in Chiang Rai, headed to a nearby hospital after the rescue operation.Previously, the entire round trip through the cave network was thought to take roughly 11 hours to complete, but efforts to drain the tunnels of flood water appear to have shortened the journey time.Twelve boys — aged between 11 and 16 — and their coach, were discovered by two British divers on July 2, nine days after they disappeared during an outing in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex, in Chiang Rai, northern Thailand.Those still inside the cave are perched on a small muddy ledge four kilometers (2.5 miles) inside the cave, surrounded by flood water and with a limited supply of oxygen. Race against time For the boys, the most dangerous part of the journey out of the cave remains the first kilometer, in which they are required to pass through a flooded channel no wider than a person. During this process, rescuers need to hold their oxygen tanks in front of them and swim pencil-like through submerged holes.Having completed this section, the boys are then handed over to separate, specialist rescue teams, who assist them through the remainder of the caves, much of which they can wade through. But rescuers have a dwindling window of opportunity, with forecasters predicting the return of heavy monsoon rains in the coming days, effectively sealing off the cave until October.”We have two obstacles: water and time. This what we have been racing against since day one. We have to do all we can, even though it is hard to fight the force of nature,” Osotthanakorn said earlier, as rain began to fall across the site. A rescue mission like no other Divers have previously described conditions in the cave network as some of the most extreme they have ever faced.The decision to move the boys using divers has not been taken lightly. On Friday, a former Thai Navy SEAL died while returning from an operation to deliver oxygen tanks to the cave where the boys are located.Thai rescue teams arrange a water pumping system at the entrance to a flooded cave complex where 12 boys and their soccer coach became trapped June 23 in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand, on Saturday, July 7, 2018.Thai rescue teams arrange a water pumping system at the entrance to a flooded cave complex where 12 boys and their soccer coach became trapped June 23 in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand, on Saturday, July 7, 2018. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveThai rescue teams arrange a water pumping system at the entrance to a flooded cave complex where 12 boys and their soccer coach became trapped June 23 in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand, on Saturday, July 7, 2018.Hide Caption 1 of 37A helicopter lands at a military airport in Chiang Rai on Sunday, July 8. Over the course of the rescue mission the evacuated boys will be taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital.A helicopter lands at a military airport in Chiang Rai on Sunday, July 8. Over the course of the rescue mission the evacuated boys will be taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveA helicopter lands at a military airport in Chiang Rai on Sunday, July 8. Over the course of the rescue mission the evacuated boys will be taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital.Hide Caption 2 of 37Thai military personnel walk up into a cave during the ongoing rescue operations Saturday.Thai military personnel walk up into a cave during the ongoing rescue operations Saturday. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveThai military personnel walk up into a cave during the ongoing rescue operations Saturday.Hide Caption 3 of 37An ambulance heads from Tham Luang Nang Non cave toward a hospital on July 8, 2018, in Chiang Rai, Thailand after reports that a rescue mission was underway for 12 boys and their soccer coach who were trapped in the flooded cave system.An ambulance heads from Tham Luang Nang Non cave toward a hospital on July 8, 2018, in Chiang Rai, Thailand after reports that a rescue mission was underway for 12 boys and their soccer coach who were trapped in the flooded cave system. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveAn ambulance heads from Tham Luang Nang Non cave toward a hospital on July 8, 2018, in Chiang Rai, Thailand after reports that a rescue mission was underway for 12 boys and their soccer coach who were trapped in the flooded cave system.Hide Caption 4 of 37Thai military personnel work inside a cave during the ongoing rescue operations.Thai military personnel work inside a cave during the ongoing rescue operations. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveThai military personnel work inside a cave during the ongoing rescue operations.Hide Caption 5 of 37An ambulance leaves the scene of the rescue effort at the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system on Sunday, July 8.An ambulance leaves the scene of the rescue effort at the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system on Sunday, July 8. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveAn ambulance leaves the scene of the rescue effort at the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system on Sunday, July 8.Hide Caption 6 of 37An ambulance leaves the Tham Luang Nang Non cave area after reports that some of the boys had been rescued.An ambulance leaves the Tham Luang Nang Non cave area after reports that some of the boys had been rescued. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveAn ambulance leaves the Tham Luang Nang Non cave area after reports that some of the boys had been rescued.Hide Caption 7 of 37Rescuers lock hands prior to leaving for a rescue operation. Rescuers lock hands prior to leaving for a rescue operation. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveRescuers lock hands prior to leaving for a rescue operation. Hide Caption 8 of 37Family members pray in front of a Buddhist statue near the cave Saturday.Family members pray in front of a Buddhist statue near the cave Saturday. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveFamily members pray in front of a Buddhist statue near the cave Saturday.Hide Caption 9 of 37Emergency workers carry oxygen tanks as rescue operations are underway.Emergency workers carry oxygen tanks as rescue operations are underway. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveEmergency workers carry oxygen tanks as rescue operations are underway.Hide Caption 10 of 37Thai soldiers work to connect pipes that will help water from entering a cave.Thai soldiers work to connect pipes that will help water from entering a cave. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveThai soldiers work to connect pipes that will help water from entering a cave.Hide Caption 11 of 37Thai forest rangers examine a map as they review their options during the ongoing rescue operations Saturday.Thai forest rangers examine a map as they review their options during the ongoing rescue operations Saturday. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveThai forest rangers examine a map as they review their options during the ongoing rescue operations Saturday.Hide Caption 12 of 37This image, taken from video on Monday, July 2, shows the youth soccer team that has been trapped in a Thai cave since June 23.This image, taken from video on Monday, July 2, shows the youth soccer team that has been trapped in a Thai cave since June 23. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveThis image, taken from video on Monday, July 2, shows the youth soccer team that has been trapped in a Thai cave since June 23.Hide Caption 13 of 37Divers have been able to bring food, blankets and other supplies to the boys while experts debate how to get them out safely. The team was found around two kilometers (1.24 miles) into the cave and somewhere between 800 meters to one kilometer below the surface, according to a British Cave Rescue Council briefing note.Divers have been able to bring food, blankets and other supplies to the boys while experts debate how to get them out safely. The team was found around two kilometers (1.24 miles) into the cave and somewhere between 800 meters to one kilometer below the surface, according to a British Cave Rescue Council briefing note. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveDivers have been able to bring food, blankets and other supplies to the boys while experts debate how to get them out safely. The team was found around two kilometers (1.24 miles) into the cave and somewhere between 800 meters to one kilometer below the surface, according to a British Cave Rescue Council briefing note.Hide Caption 14 of 37The team was found alive by British divers. The search has brought rescue teams from all over the world.The team was found alive by British divers. The search has brought rescue teams from all over the world. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveThe team was found alive by British divers. The search has brought rescue teams from all over the world.Hide Caption 15 of 37A Thai military medic provides first aid to one of the boys.A Thai military medic provides first aid to one of the boys. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveA Thai military medic provides first aid to one of the boys.Hide Caption 16 of 37The body of Saman Kunan, a former Thai Navy SEAL, is carried during a repatriation and religious rites ceremony on Friday, July 6. Kunan died at 2 a.m. Friday as he returned from an operation to deliver oxygen tanks to the cave. He ran out of air while underwater, an official said.The body of Saman Kunan, a former Thai Navy SEAL, is carried during a repatriation and religious rites ceremony on Friday, July 6. Kunan died at 2 a.m. Friday as he returned from an operation to deliver oxygen tanks to the cave. He ran out of air while underwater, an official said. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveThe body of Saman Kunan, a former Thai Navy SEAL, is carried during a repatriation and religious rites ceremony on Friday, July 6. Kunan died at 2 a.m. Friday as he returned from an operation to deliver oxygen tanks to the cave. He ran out of air while underwater, an official said.Hide Caption 17 of 37Thai police take a break for breakfast as rescue operations continue on Wednesday, July 4.Thai police take a break for breakfast as rescue operations continue on Wednesday, July 4. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveThai police take a break for breakfast as rescue operations continue on Wednesday, July 4.Hide Caption 18 of 37Water is pumped out of the cave during rescue efforts on Tuesday, July 3.Water is pumped out of the cave during rescue efforts on Tuesday, July 3. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveWater is pumped out of the cave during rescue efforts on Tuesday, July 3.Hide Caption 19 of 37Workers fix the road leading to the cave on July 3.Workers fix the road leading to the cave on July 3. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveWorkers fix the road leading to the cave on July 3.Hide Caption 20 of 37Divers prepare a light to be used for the underwater search on Monday, July 2.Divers prepare a light to be used for the underwater search on Monday, July 2. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveDivers prepare a light to be used for the underwater search on Monday, July 2.Hide Caption 21 of 37Rescue workers wait at the entrance to the cave on July 2.Rescue workers wait at the entrance to the cave on July 2. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveRescue workers wait at the entrance to the cave on July 2.Hide Caption 22 of 37Some of the team's family members celebrate after receiving news that the team was alive.Some of the team's family members celebrate after receiving news that the team was alive. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveSome of the team’s family members celebrate after receiving news that the team was alive.Hide Caption 23 of 37Technicians lift water pumps to the drilling site on Sunday, July 1.Technicians lift water pumps to the drilling site on Sunday, July 1. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveTechnicians lift water pumps to the drilling site on Sunday, July 1.Hide Caption 24 of 37Soldiers and rescuers work outside the cave complex on July 1.Soldiers and rescuers work outside the cave complex on July 1. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveSoldiers and rescuers work outside the cave complex on July 1.Hide Caption 25 of 37Monks attend a Buddhist prayer for the team on July 1.Monks attend a Buddhist prayer for the team on July 1. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveMonks attend a Buddhist prayer for the team on July 1.Hide Caption 26 of 37Scuba tanks are delivered to the search site on July 1.Scuba tanks are delivered to the search site on July 1. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveScuba tanks are delivered to the search site on July 1.Hide Caption 27 of 37Rescue workers carry water-pumping equipment into the cave on July 1.Rescue workers carry water-pumping equipment into the cave on July 1. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveRescue workers carry water-pumping equipment into the cave on July 1.Hide Caption 28 of 37A Thai Air Force worker drops near a possible cave opening on Saturday, June 30.A Thai Air Force worker drops near a possible cave opening on Saturday, June 30. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveA Thai Air Force worker drops near a possible cave opening on Saturday, June 30.Hide Caption 29 of 37British cave diver Robert Charles Harper explores an opening on Friday, June 29.British cave diver Robert Charles Harper explores an opening on Friday, June 29. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveBritish cave diver Robert Charles Harper explores an opening on Friday, June 29.Hide Caption 30 of 37Relatives of the trapped team members pray on Wednesday, June 27.Relatives of the trapped team members pray on Wednesday, June 27. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveRelatives of the trapped team members pray on Wednesday, June 27.Hide Caption 31 of 37Family members waited more than a week for news of their loved ones.Family members waited more than a week for news of their loved ones. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveFamily members waited more than a week for news of their loved ones.Hide Caption 32 of 37Thai soldiers bring hoses and additional water pumps as the search for the team continued on June 27.Thai soldiers bring hoses and additional water pumps as the search for the team continued on June 27. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveThai soldiers bring hoses and additional water pumps as the search for the team continued on June 27.Hide Caption 33 of 37Volunteer paramedics wait near the cave entrance on June 27.Volunteer paramedics wait near the cave entrance on June 27. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveVolunteer paramedics wait near the cave entrance on June 27.Hide Caption 34 of 37A rescuer looks for a cave entrance on June 27.A rescuer looks for a cave entrance on June 27. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveA rescuer looks for a cave entrance on June 27.Hide Caption 35 of 37Rescuers search the cave on Tuesday, June 26.Rescuers search the cave on Tuesday, June 26. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveRescuers search the cave on Tuesday, June 26.Hide Caption 36 of 37Thai soldiers relay cable at the search site on June 26.Thai soldiers relay cable at the search site on June 26. Photos: Thai soccer team trapped in caveThai soldiers relay cable at the search site on June 26.Hide Caption 37 of 37bpt101 thailand soccer team 07082018ny06 thailand soccer team rescue 0708 helicopterbpt102 thailand soccer team 07082018ny02 thailand soccer team rescue 0708 ambulancebpt103 thailand soccer team 07082018ny03 thailand soccer team rescue 0708 ambulanceny04 thailand soccer team rescue 0708 ambulancebpt104 thailanad soccer team 07082018bpt107 thailand soccer team 07082018bpt109 thailand soccer team 07072018bpt105 thailand soccer team 07082018bpt108 thailand soccer team 0708201801 thailand cave rescue 0704 RESTRiCTED02 thailand cave rescue 0704 RESTRICTED03 thailand cave rescue RESTRICTED04 thailand cave rescue 0704 RESTRICTED25 thailand cave rescue 070605 thailand cave rescue 070406 thailand cave rescue 070407 thailand cave rescue 070408 thailand cave rescue 070409 thailand cave rescue 10 thailand cave rescue11 thailand cave rescue12  thailand cave rescue RESTRICTED13 thailand cave rescue14 thailand cave rescue15 thailand cave rescue16 thailand cave rescue17 thailand cave rescue18 thailand cave rescue19 thailand cave rescue20 thailand cave rescue21 thailand cave rescue22 thailand cave rescue23 thailand cave rescue RESTRICTED24 thailand cave rescue Finnish volunteer diver Mikko Paasi, a long-term resident of Thailand, said the death of the Thai Navy SEAL had changed the mood on the ground and made real for rescuers just how dangerous the mission had become.”Definitely, you can feel it that it has an effect, but we’re moving on. Everyone is a professional so we’re trying to put it away and avoid it happening again,” he said, adding: “Everybody is focusing on getting these boys out — keeping them alive or getting them out.”Parents’ constant vigilIn the hours preceding the rescue, a letter the boys had sent to their families was published on the Thai SEALs’ Facebook page. The letter shows the boys in good spirits despite their ordeal.CNN talks to father waiting for trapped sonCNN talks to father waiting for trapped sonCNN talks to father waiting for trapped sonJUST WATCHEDCNN talks to father waiting for trapped sonReplayMore Videos …MUST WATCH

CNN talks to father waiting for trapped son 02:37In neat blue handwriting, 11-year-old Chanin Viboonrungruang, the youngest of the group, told his parents not to worry, and said he was looking forward to eating fried chicken.His parents, who along with other families, have maintained a constant vigil at the site since the boys first became trapped.On reading the letter Saturday evening, Chanin’s father, Tanawut Viboonrungruang, said he felt a great sense of relief. “I had been worried about my son, that he would be exhausted, he would be tired,” he said.Now, more than two weeks after their children became trapped in a flooded cave, some of the families are finally celebrating their return.

Source Link:
https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/08/asia/thai-cave-rescue-mission-intl/index.html

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