Saturday, 21 July, 2018

Thai cave operation: Pumps failed after last boy rescued

A board showing Boys Rescued from Thai Cave in Good Health
Julia Gonzales | 13 July, 2018, 05:39

The 12 boys rescued from a Thai cave were sedated and passed on stretchers along the twisting, narrow passageways of the Tham Luang complex, a rescuer said yesterday (July 11) as the first footage emerged of an astonishing mission that has captivated the world.

Brown, a 35-year-old who runs a scuba shop on the balmy Thai island of Koh Tao, was tasked during the rescue with changing oxygen tanks and hauling the boys along between dive spots.

The boys had earlier received an invitation to come watch the World Cup final in Russian Federation, but doctors said they could not go as they were still confined to their hospital beds.

Five Seals and 13 foreign divers worked together to rescue the boys.

Workers were Thursday packing up the industrial water pumps, heavy-grade machinery and construction equipment at the mouth of the Tham Luang cave, which had been a high-tech command center during the 18-day ordeal.

A Thai navy SEAL diver told AFP news agency the boys were sleeping or partially conscious as they were carried out of the cave.

The boys were described as generally being in normal condition in a Chiang Rai hospital, though their levels of recuperation varied because they were removed from the cave over three days.

At another, they watch on as a stretcher hangs from a rope on a pulley system above their heads.

Thailand's junta leader Prayut Chan-O-Cha on Tuesday said the boys were given a "minor tranquiliser" to keep them calm.

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The first boys rescued on Sunday have been allowed to see their relatives through a glass partition and speak to them on a telephone line.

"Suddenly the Australian guy who was overseeing that area started shouting that the water pump had stopped working", said Mr Chaiyananta. They were found after 9 days by a pair of British divers. "This mission was successful because of cooperation from everyone", he said.

After nearly three weeks trapped in the dark, away from their loved ones in a cave in northern Thailand, the boys, aged between 11 and 16, were allowed to see their relatives in a carefully controlled environment, as doctors are still concerned about their health. "Most of the boys lost an average of two kg", Thongchai Lertwilairattanapong, an inspector for Thailand's health department, told reporters on Wednesday.

The world held its breath over the three days it took to retrieve the Wild Boars.

At a school opposite the hospital in Chiang Rai where the boys are recovering, schoolchildren were in an excited, celebratory mood.

"We were pleased and very relieved that they were alive", Volanthen said.

Derek Anderson, a 32-year-old rescue specialist with the US Air Force based in Okinawa, Japan, said the dozen boys and their coach were "incredibly resilient".

Several options were explored by authorities - including tunnelling into the trapped group or getting them enough food to wait out the monsoon season.

But they were prodded into the unsafe task of bringing the team through submerged chambers and claustrophobic passages as oxygen levels in the cave plummeted and rains menaced.

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