Friday, 20 July, 2018

How coach Chanthawong helped trapped Thai boys survive inside the cave

Fighting time, high waters, divers prepare to rescue second group of Thai boys from cave 4 freed from Thailand cave, but rescuers face 'war with water and time' to get to others
Steven Clarke | 11 July, 2018, 00:07

On Sunday, officials waited until several hours after the rescued boys had been transported to hospitals to announce their rescue. Chiang Rai acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn had said earlier Monday that the second phase began at 11 a.m. and authorities "hope to hear good news in the next few hours".

Regarding Sunday's rescue, Narongsak said earlier Monday that the healthiest boys were removed first.

Three were boys on the football team and the fourth was their coach, Ekapol Chantawong, 25.

However, Saturday night, Musk tweeted that the cave was now closed for the rescue by divers, adding, "Will continue testing in LA in case needed later or somewhere else in the future".

The boys have been trapped in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave since June 23 when they and their coach entered and were then cut off by flash flooding.

Narongsak said rescuers would meet Monday evening to plan for the next operation. The four evacuated on Monday were also hospitalized, although their condition was not announced.

The first four boys rescued from the cave are apparently now recovering well in hospital, demanding bowls of fried rice. Relatives were able to see them through a glass partition, the governor said.

Sunday's rescue mission was described as a success by Thai officials.

The source said the boys arrived at the chamber at 4pm after being rescued by foreign and Navy Seal divers from the ledge where they had sheltered from floodwaters for more than a week.

"Adolescents are especially social creatures, and having friends with them as well as their coach would be a tremendous help", said David Spiegel, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University's medical school.

Officials have yet to confirm the identities of the four boys freed.

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The boys, members of the Wild Boars soccer team, were invited to the World Cup Final in Moscow if they make it out in time and can physically handle the trip.

Officials lavished praise on the Thai and global divers who, in pairs of two, executed the unsafe rescue mission, guiding the boys, who could barely swim and had no diving experience, through a treacherous 2½-mile-long escape route that twisted and turned through the cavern.

Eight boys have now been extracted.

The fate of the boys and their coach has gripped Thailand and drawn global media attention.

It takes around eight hours for divers and rescuers to get them out.

Shortly after, ambulances were seen racing toward the nearby city of Chiang Rai down roads that had been cleared of traffic to smooth the journey.

The rescued kids are now in the hospital, where they should receive the proper care before being released to their families.

Speaking to reporters after the news conference, Narongsak said that while Musk's technology was "good and sophisticated", it was "not practical for the mission".

On Friday, the death of a former Thai navy SEAL underscored the risks. The perilous rescues have involved two divers accompanying each of the boys, all of whom have been learning to dive only since July 2, when searchers found them.

The ordeal has riveted Thailand and captured the world's attention.

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