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Three more British cave divers flying in to join the rescue mission

11 July 2018
Three more British cave divers flying in to join the rescue mission

Medics appeared to remove one person on a stretcher but hid the person's identity behind multiple white umbrellas.

A team of more than 240 experts from around the world has been working on a plan to get the boys out since they were discovered alive in the cave system more than a week ago.

For now, the rescue operation is scheduled to resume on Monday, although it remains uncertain whether or not that will be possible.

A little before 5pm local time (10am GMT) a fifth boy was reported rescued after a six-hour operation.

Narongsak Osottanakorn, the Chiang Rai governor and head of the rescue mission, said that "today, everything was smooth".

Narongsak said Saturday that experts told him new rain could shrink the unflooded space where the boys are sheltering to just 10 square meters (108 square feet). "And we will do it faster because we are afraid of the rain". Officials feared that an incoming storm could send water flooding back into the cave and make an escape even more hard for the boys, ages 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach.

Officials said at a news conference that the parents of the rescued boys, whose names have not been released, have not yet been allowed to have physical contact with them, pending more extensive examination of their physical condition.

"This morning they said they are hungry, and they wanted phad kra pao", he said.

Four boys were recently brought out of the cave and transported to a hospital. Relatives were able to see them through a glass partition, the governor said.

Two divers are helping each of the boys out as families wait nervously outside the cave entrance - 2.5 miles (4km) from where they were trapped. A massive global search operation was launched and it took 10 days to locate the boys, who had taken shelter on a dry slope deep in the complex.

The boys, aged between 11 and 16, went missing with their 25-year-old coach after football practice on June 23, setting out on an adventure to explore the cave complex, reportedly for a picnic to celebrate one of their birthdays, before being trapped by rising waters from bursts of monsoon rain. He had said fresh air tanks needed to be laid along the underwater route. Officials said the rescue could take four days to complete.

Boring Company CEO Elon Musk is now part of an worldwide team of engineers, divers, and other experts working to rescue a group of boys from a Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Thailand. A total of 90 divers, including 50 foreigners, have been involved in the entire operation, Narongsak said. For the last several days, crews have been trying to drain enough water out of the cave to make the rescue easier.

Already the operation has killed one diver, former Thai navy SEAL, Saman Gunan.

The boys were each being led by two divers as they went through 4km of pitch darkness, trudged through thick mud, clambered over slippery jagged rocks and dived through narrow passageways swirling with cold, strong currents.

Rescuers need to hold the boys' oxygen tanks in front of them and swim pencil-like through submerged holes. That along with dwindling oxygen levels, added to the urgency of getting the team out.