Thai rescue: Divers begin mission to free boys trapped in cave

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“Our readiness is on the highest right this moment. At this time is D-day,” mentioned Chiang Rai’s governor, Narongsak Osotthanakorn, including that the households had been knowledgeable of the plan and given their assist to the rescue effort.

At 10 a.m. native time, a world contingent of 13 specialist divers descended into the watery community of underground tunnels beneath the Mae Sai mountains, carrying with them the hopes of a complete nation.

The plight of the stricken boys, who’ve remained trapped contained in the caves for 15 days, has transfixed Thailand, as rescue efforts have turn into ever extra pressing.

Rescuers have what has been described as a dwindling window of alternative, with forecasters predicting the return of heavy monsoon rains within the coming days, successfully sealing off the cave till October.

Race in opposition to time

On the website of the caves, volunteers helping within the operation described the rescue try as a “now or by no means” state of affairs.

The boys and their coach are huddled collectively in a small chamber four kilometers (2.5 miles) contained in the cave, surrounded by flood water and with a restricted provide of oxygen.

To achieve them, divers might want to efficiently navigate a community of sprawling slim tunnels, with officers near the operation suggesting rescuers will use a “buddy” system, with every diver paired with a toddler. Further oxygen tanks may even be positioned alongside the route.

Indicators {that a} rescue operation was below approach have been evident within the hours main as much as the announcement as authorities put in a big inexperienced tarp across the cave entrance and eliminated media from outdoors of the camp to a separate location.

On the highway resulting in the tunnels, a close to steady convoy of vans and army automobiles delivered troops and medical tools, together with a big cache of oxygen tanks. On Saturday night, quite a few worldwide army advisers could possibly be seen coming into the positioning, adopted later by 4 monks in orange robes.

On the entrance to the positioning, a newly positioned, skinny white ornamental flag fluttered within the wind, a Buddhist signal to point optimistic power.

Excessive threat

Hopes had been excessive that another technique of rescue could be found. For days, specialist groups have scoured mountains above the cave seeking a potential hidden entry level.

Divers have beforehand described circumstances within the cave community as a few of the most excessive they’ve ever confronted.

The choice to take away the boys utilizing divers wouldn’t have been taken calmly. On Friday, a former Thai Navy SEAL died whereas getting back from an operation to ship oxygen tanks to the cave the place the boys are situated.

Even when the divers are profitable, it will likely be many hours earlier than the destiny of the boys and their rescuers can be recognized. Thai authorities say it takes round 11 hours for divers to finish the spherical journey.

Men from the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation arrive to the cave entrance on July 6, in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

Finnish volunteer diver Mikko Paasi, a long-term resident of Thailand, mentioned the dying of the Thai Navy SEAL had modified the temper on the bottom and made actual for rescuers simply how harmful the mission had turn into.

“Positively, you may really feel it that it has an impact, however we’re shifting on. Everyone seems to be an expert so we’re making an attempt to place it away and keep away from it occurring once more,” he mentioned, including: “All people is specializing in getting these boys out — protecting them alive or getting them out.”

Spirits excessive

Within the hours previous the rescue, a letter the boys had despatched to their households was revealed on the Thai SEALs’ Fb web page. The letter exhibits the boys in good spirits regardless of their ordeal.

In neat blue handwriting, 11-year-old Chanin Viboonrungruang, the youngest of the group, informed his dad and mom to not fear, and mentioned he was wanting ahead to consuming fried hen.

His dad and mom, who together with different households, have maintained a continuing vigil on the website because the boys first turned trapped.

Chanin Viboonrungruang, 11,  is in his final year of Anubanmaesai primary school in Mae Sai.

On studying the letter Saturday night, Chanin’s father, Tanawut Viboonrungruang, mentioned he felt an excellent sense of reduction. “I had been nervous about my son, that he could be exhausted, he could be drained,” he mentioned.

For households the anticipate information of their boys’ rescue has been excruciating.

“I used to be nervous about him as there are obstacles to extract him out. Everybody is aware of that it’s troublesome to remain inside (the cave) however the officers try (to assist him),” mentioned Viboonrungruang.

“I hope he’s nonetheless wholesome and would come out quickly. I wish to ship my assist to him. I haven’t got an opportunity to speak with him,” he mentioned.

CNN’s Jo Shelly, Kocha Olarn, Sandi Sidhu and journalist Lalinda Siripornmanut contributed to this report.



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