World News

Rescue Operation To Save The Thai Football Team Is Underway

Rescue Operation To Save The Thai Football Team Is Underway

The entire world as been riveted as efforts were underway Sunday to rescue the 12 boys, all members of a youth soccer team.

Tossathep Boonthong, chief of the health department in Chiang Rai in northern Thailand, told Reuters.

The rescue team leader said that, in some of the larger caverns, extensive pumping had reduced water levels so that they were now walkable, even with the onset of fresh monsoon rain on Sunday.

The operation to remove the boys could take three or four days, Third Region Army Deputy Commander Supachoke Thawatpeerachai said.

The 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach will be accompanied by divers and will have to navigate tight passageways filled with muddy water as part of their rescue mission.

While the initial strategy was to extract the strongest boys first, that was revised and the weakest were taken out after Dr Harris assessed their strength and health, Thai media reported.

Osottanakorn, the head of the rescue mission, told reporters that the team had rehearsed the plan for several days, and had cleared a sizeable amount of the flooding from the cave.

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Officials have not yet released the names of the two footballers who military sources say have exited the Tham Luang cave complex in Chiang Rai. US President Donald Trump said on Twitter Sunday that his government is working "very closely" with Thai officials. "We have tried all possible ways to get the boys out, but sometimes we can't win over nature".

With them were five other global divers and five Thai navy SEALS, and more than 70 other divers in support roles, 50 of whom were foreigners.

Twelve youths aged from 11 to 16 were trapped, while a massive worldwide rescue effort has been mounted including Thai Navy divers and foreign volunteers.

"Now and in the next three or four days, the conditions are ideal [for evacuation] in terms of the water, the weather and the boys' health", Narongsak told reporters.

At a news conference, Chiang Rai provincial Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn said that five Thai Navy SEALs and 13 foreign divers were involved in the rescue of the four boys.

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

The boys and their coach had been stranded in Tham Luang Nang Non when they went exploring in the cave after a scrimmage June 23. An update Saturday from the Thai navy said three navy SEALs were with the boys and their coach, one a doctor. Of the 13-strong foreign dive team, three were escorting the children, while the remainder were positioned along the risky first-kilometre stretch, where the boys have to navigate through submerged passageways in some places no more than 600cm wide.


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