All 12 boys, coach rescued from Thai cave

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 11 Jul 2018 08:31:57


 

MAE SAI (Thailand),

 

Thai SEALs and elite foreign divers extract the final batch of four boys and the coach via a perilous escape route that required them to squeeze through narrow, water-filled tunnels

THE final five members of a young football team were rescued from a flooded Thai cave on Tuesday after spending 18 harrowing days trapped deep inside, completing an astonishing against-the-odds rescue mission that captivated the world.


Elite foreign divers and Thai Navy SEALs extracted the final batch of four boys, plus the 25-year-old coach, on Tuesday afternoon via a treacherous escape route that required them to squeeze through narrow, water-filled tunnels in darkness.


“All 12 ‘Wild Boars’ and coach have been extracted from the cave,” the SEALs said in a ‘Facebook’ post, referring to the boys by the name of their football team. The last four Thai navy divers, including a doctor, who had been with the boys emerged safe from the cave late on Tuesday, rescue chief Narongsak Osottanakorn said.
The children, aged from 11 to 16, and their coach, ventured into the Tham Luang cave in mountainous Northern Thailand on June 23 after football practice and got trapped when heavy rains caused flooding that forced them to take shelter on a muddy ledge.


They spent nine days in darkness until two British divers found them, looking gaunt but offering smiles to the divers and appearing to be in remarkably good spirits. Authorities mulled ideas such as drilling holes into the mountain or waiting months until monsoon rains ended and they could walk out, with the rescue chief at one point dubbing the efforts to save them “Mission Impossible”.
With oxygen levels in their chamber falling to dangerous levels and monsoon rains threatening to flood the cave above the ledge where the boys were sheltering, rescuers decided on the least-worst option of having divers escort them out through the tunnels.


The escape route was a challenge even for experts — a former Thai Navy SEAL diver died when he ran out of oxygen in a flooded area of the cave on Friday while trying to prepare the escape route. Many of the boys could not even swim and none of them had diving experience, so the rescuers trained them how to use a mask and breathe underwater via an oxygen tank.


One fear had been that they would panic while trying to swim underwater, even with a diver escorting them. Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha revealed on Tuesday the boys had been given some medication to help them remain calm.“It was a minor tranquiliser to prevent (the) boys from being anxious,” Prayut told reporters.


The ups and downs of the rescue bid entranced Thailand and also fixated a global audience, drawing support from celebrities as varied as US President Donald Trump, football star Lionel Messi and tech guru Elon Musk. “On behalf of the United States, congratulations to the Thai Navy SEALs and all on the successful rescue of the 12 boys and
their coach from the treacherous cave in Thailand,” Trump tweeted.


“Such a beautiful moment - all freed, great job!” Manchester United also invited the “Wild Boars”, as well as those involved in the rescue, to travel to England and visit the club. Now they are out, concerns are set to focus on the physical and mental toll of the ordeal.
Experts warned that drinking contaminated water or otherwise being exposed to bird or bat droppings in the cave could lead to dangerous infections.
They also said counselling would be needed to deal with the psychological trauma of spending so long not knowing whether they were going to survive. But there were some promising initial signs.


Medical chiefs reported this morning that the eight boys rescued on Sunday and Monday were in relatively good mental and physical conditions.
“All eight are in good health, no fever... Everyone is in a good mental state,” Jedsada Chokdamrongsuk, permanent secretary of the public health ministry, said before all 13 had been rescued.


Nevertheless, the boys would remain in quarantine in hospital until doctors were sure they had not contracted any infections from inside the cave.
PUNE FIRM EXPERTS PITCH IN WITH TECH SUPPORT: EXPERTS from a Pune-headquartered firm gave technical support in the operations to rescue the football team, the company said here on Tuesday.


After the Indian Embassy recommended to the Thai authorities that they could use Kirlosker Brothers’ Limited’s (KBL) expertise in “dewatering”, the company sent teams from its offices in India, Thailand and the United Kingdom to the site, it said.


Its experts were on site at the cave in Tham Luang since July 5 and offered “technical know-how and advice on dewatering and pumps involved in the rescue operation,” said a KBL release.
The KBL had also offered to provide four specialised high capacity Autoprime dewatering pumps, which were kept ready at Kirloskarvadi plant in Maharashtra to be airlifted to Thailand, it said.