Rescued boys and coach
ALL 12 youth football players and their coach have now been rescued from a flooded cave in northern Thailand, following a three-day operation.
The final four school boys and their coach, who had been trapped in the Tham Luang Cave in Chiang Rai for 18 days, were carried out on stretchers to waiting ambulances on Tuesday afternoon, Dailymail said.
Among those extracted today is the youngest member of the team, 11-year-old Chanin Wiboonrungruang, whose nickname is Titan, and coach Ekaphol Chantawong, 25.
The governor of the rescue mission had previously said Tuesday’s operation would be more difficult than the previous two days, due to the increased number of people who need to be extracted.
Following the evacuees will be four Thai Navy SEALs – including a medic – who had been staying with the group since they were discovered huddled together on a muddy ledge 2,620ft (800 metres) underground on July 2.
The Thai Navy SEALs confirmed the success of the operation on their official Facebook page, writing: ’12 wild boars and coach out of the cave. Everyone is safe. Now just waiting to pick up four frogs [Navy SEALs]. Hooyah.’
‘The water level is almost at the same level as for the first two days so we decided to carry out the operation for the last batch,’ Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn said.
‘If nothing goes wrong the remaining boys, the doctor [a Thai Navy Seal medic] and the three [Thai] Navy Seals who have been staying with the boys since the beginning of the mission will come out this evening.’
As friends and family await news of the final stages of the rescue, the wife of the Wild Boar FC’s head coach – who is not in the cave – shared a heartwarming video of support, showing images of the young 12 players.
As long as you fight, as long as you believe in yourself we will go through the bad things and will succeed in life,’ Thitiporn Anurakkhana wrote in the caption.
‘Take lots of rest to recover your body everyone and we will have a party for you all. We’ll do soccer practice together again. I’m rooting for you. #surelyiwanttogiveeveryoneahug #keeponfightingeveryone #wildboarfamily #keeponfighting!’
Meanwhile, the Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-chau has today been forced to deny false reports that the children were being given anaesthetics to stop them panicking during the extraction.
According to an interview translated by the Guardian, the Prime Minister slammed such reports, saying they had been given anti-anxiety medication, ‘the same medication he takes to help him relax when he shoots guns’.
Early this morning, officials announced that the first group of four to be evacuated are aged between 14 and 16 and the second group are aged between 12 and 14.
Officials last night suggested coach Ekaphol Chantawong, 25, could face a night underground alone because the divers’ system of extracting four boys at a time was working well – but rescuers said all those remaining will be brought out today.
As the final day of the mission began, the rescued children have been praised by a Danish diving instructor who was part of the team helping to guide them out through the water-filled tunnels.
‘They are being forced to do something that no kid has ever done before,’ Ivan Karadzic, told the BBC.
‘It is not in any way normal for kids to do cave diving aged 11. They are diving in something that is considered an extremely hazardous environment, in zero visibility, the only light in there is the torches you bring yourself.
‘We were obviously very afraid of any kind of panic. I cannot understand how cool these small kids are … Incredibly strong kids.’
Two of the eight boys rescued so far are being treated for pneumonia and the other six have hypothermia, a Thai doctor revealed.
The rescued boys are said to be in good spirits and feasting on bread with chocolate spread.
Their relieved parents were forced to wear surgical robes and masks and were not allowed to hug their sons to prevent infection when visiting them in hospital last night.
The first eight to be evacuated have all been given inoculations against rabies and tetanus, and are all being treated with antibiotics amid fears they may have been bitten by disease-carrying bats inside the huge underground network.
The boys are weak and ravenously hungry, Thailand’s public health chief Dr Jedsada Chokdamrongsuk revealed, but have been laughing and joking with staff and officials.
Among the first things the children told medical staff were ‘we miss home’ and ‘we’re happy’, he added.
However, they are unlikely to be well enough to take up FIFA’s invitation to watch the World Cup final in Moscow later this week.
Two of the boys have pneumonia, a lung infection which can be exacerbated by spending extended time in a cold and damp environment.
‘These boys are being treated with antibiotics. All of the boys were suffering from hypothermia when they arrived at the hospital,’ Dr Jedsada said.
‘But they have all now reached normal body temperature. The hypothermia could have been a result of diving for several hours.
‘All of the boys have been given inoculations and rabies inoculations because of the concern that they may have been bitten by bats which live in the cave.
‘One of the boys has a slow heartbeat but overall they [the eight evacuated so far] are in a safe condition and their lives are not in danger.’
The doctor said blood samples taken from the boys will be sent to a specialist lab in Bangkok to test for ’emerging diseases’.
Their relieved parents will only be allowed to go to their bedsides once they have been given the all-clear.
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