First Two Boys Reportedly Brought Out From Thai Cave
The first of the boys trapped inside a cave in Thailand have been brought out by rescuers, reports say.
The 12 boys have been trapped in the cave along with their 25-year-old coach since 23 June, after rising water levels trapped them inside. They were discovered by a team of British divers on Monday, prompting an urgent, meticulously-planned rescue operation.
Reuters has quoted a local official as saying that two of the youngsters - all aged between 11 and 17 - have now emerged from the Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex, in Chiang Rai, northern Thailand.
However, a statement issued by the rescue operation earlier said that they couldn't confirm how many children would be brought out in this first stage of the rescue, 'due to the complex nature of the cave and difficulty of the operation'.
The rescue process started at 10am and involved 13 international divers and five Thai navy seals, who were described by Governor Narongsak as 'an all-star team', reports the Daily Mail.
Governor of Chiang Rai province, Narongsak Osatanakorn, said: "Today is D-Day.
"The water level has reached the lowest it has been in ten days. We ask to pray that this operation is a success.
"The boys are physically and mentally fit to come out. All of the families have been told about today's operation."
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It was expected that the boys would not have to dive to get out of the cave - as had been previously predicted - because the cave system would largely be walkable, according to officials.
According to a document released by the Thai authorities, two divers will accompany each of the teenagers - who are being brought out in groups.
Loosely translated, it reads "Full face masks; two divers accompanying one boy; guided by rope. When facing a very narrow path, they will release the tank from back and slowly roll tank and guide the boy through. They walk from chamber three to mouth of the cave."
Rescuers have suggested that it may take up to two days for the rescue to be completed, with each boy being brought out individually.
One former Navy Seal died trying to help rescue 12 boys and their coach who have been trapped in a cave for nearly two weeks - highlighting the inherent risks in attempting to move the boys, who are physically weak after days without food and dwindling oxygen supplies.
More to follow.
Featured Image Credit: PA