Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
World News | By Joan Terry

Local Thai community sending prayers to cave rescue operation

Local Thai community sending prayers to cave rescue operation

Four of 12 Thai schoolboys were rescued from a flooded cave on Sunday in a daring and unsafe operation to save the children and their soccer coach who have been trapped underground for more than two weeks.

On Sunday night, Thai navy SEALs posted a celebratory note on their Facebook page, saying: "Have sweet dreams everyone. The boys are ready to face any challenges", rescue chief Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters near the cave site on Sunday morning. To get a sense of the overwhelming global interest in the effort, the post attracted tens of thousands of likes and more than 10,000 comments within an hour.

Another four were rescued on Monday and the last four boys and the coach were brought out on Tuesday, prompting rounds of spontaneous applause as ambulances and helicopters passed. The rescue operation has come to a close for the night and will resume in 10-20 hours.

Now, the rescue operation is now racing against the clock as heavy rains pound the area and the water is dangerously rising in the caves.

You can find live updates about the effort here and here.

Monsoon flooding cut off their escape route and prevented rescuers from finding them for nearly 10 days.

On Saturday, FIFA announced that it would offer the boys free tickets to the football World Cup final, if they were out in time. The team of young soccer players, ages 11-16, and their 25-year-old coach were stranded in the caves for almost 10 days due to flooding and their constantly evolving rescue has continued to make news headlines around the world. Each boy is being accompanied by two divers.

The hordes of global and local media have been kept back from the cave and the hospital in Chiang Rai where the boys are believed to be under observation. "You don't need to be anxious about me".

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"This morning they said they were hungry and wanted to eat khao pad grapao", Narongsak said, referring to a Thai dish of meat fried with chili and basil and served over rice.

Another concern for the remaining boys is their health and conditioning to make the arduous trip after nine days without food before they were found by navy divers.

An ambulance with flashing lights has left a cave complex in northern Thailand hours after the start of the second phase of an operation to rescue a youth soccer team trapped inside the flooded cave for more than two weeks.

Thirteen foreign divers and five members of Thailand's elite navy SEAL unit guided the boys to safety through narrow, submerged passageways that claimed the life of a former Thai navy diver on Friday. But initial euphoria over finding the boys alive quickly turned into deep anxiety as rescuers raced to find a way to get them out, with Narongsak at one point dubbing the effort "Mission Impossible". On 23rd June, 12 members of a junior soccer team and their coach visited Tham Luang Cave which is a popular tourist destination in Thailand.

Meanwhile rescuers fed a kilometres-long air pipe into the cave to restore oxygen levels in the chamber where the team was sheltering with medics and divers.

One particularly touching note from another boy said: "I'm doing fine, but the air is a little cold, but don't worry".

"To all the parents, all the kids are still fine".

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