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Rescue mission day two : four more boys evacuated

11 July 2018
Rescue mission day two : four more boys evacuated

The second group of four rescued on Monday are aged 12 to 14.

"You can't make a horror movie that would even compare", said Anmar Mirza with the National Cave Rescue Mission.

Rescue workers in Thailand brought out on Monday two more people from a flooded cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach were trapped for more than two weeks, apparently taking the total number rescued to seven.

'They (the four) will be kept away from their parents for a while because we are concerned about infections, ' Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters, adding doctors will decide on family visits 'at a distance or through glass'. The fifth boy was taken out of the cave before 5 pm local time (3.30 pm Indian Standard Time) while the sixth boy was stretchered out an hour later, The Guardian reported.

He was reportedly among the first extracted because he was in the worst conditions because he had given the boys his share of the group's meagre food supply before they were found.

A health official did tell local media that the boys should hopefully be able to see their families on Monday night but there could be "no hugging, no touching", until their blood work comes back. The boys and their coach have been stranded about four kilometers inside the cave.

And he has been true to his word, sending some of his top engineers to Thailand to help with the rescue, saying: "There are probably many complexities that are hard to appreciate without being there in person".

Officials lavished praise on the Thai and worldwide divers who executed the unsafe rescue mission, guiding boys who can barely swim and have no diving experience through a treacherous 4-kilometer-long (2 1/2-mile) escape route that twisted and turned and rose and fell inside the mountain cave complex. With the assistance of divers, they swam out with oxygen tanks, along a 2-mile long rope guiding them out.

Monday's operation took nine hours, two fewer than Sunday, with rescuers helped by the experience they have accumulated, Narongsak told a news conference punctuated with rounds of applause.

The extraction of the four on Monday followed a similar pattern to the previous day, with the youngsters emerging in quick succession just before nightfall after navigating a treacherous escape route of more than four kilometres.

Four were rescued Sunday and four more on Monday.

The soccer team seen in the cave last week, before anyone was rescued.

On Sunday, divers held the first four boys close to bring them out, and each had to wear an oxygen mask to enable normal breathing, authorities said.

The names of the rescued boys were not released.

Hundreds of spectators and journalists have gathered in the area around the cave, hoping for news that the boys and their coach would emerge safely. Highlighting the extreme dangers, a former Thai Navy SEAL died Friday while replenishing the oxygen canisters laid along the route.

"We're going to keep people on site until they get everyone out, the boys, the coach and the divers", Decker said.

The cave complex is off-limits during the rainy season, which usually runs from May to October, when downpours can quickly flood it.