Rescuers begin 'challenging' final push to free last five from Thai cave

Rescuers begin 'challenging' final push to free last five from Thai cave

The operation to rescue the last of the Thai football team trapped in a flooded cave could have ended in disaster, it has emerged.

Coach Ake, as he is known, is the assistant coach who was with the 12 boys in the caves, and was the last person to be rescued. On Friday, a former Thai Navy diver who had volunteered to help with the rescue, Saman Gunan, lost consciousness and died on an oxygen supply mission.

The operation led by British cave divers alongside Thai Navy SEALs will have to return to the cave tomorrow, racing time, dropping oxygen levels and the rains, to rescue the remaining four boys and their coach.

Officials lavished praise on the Thai and global divers who, in pairs of two, executed the risky rescue mission, guiding the boys, who could barely swim and had no diving experience, through a treacherous 4-kilometer-long (2 1/2-mile) escape route that twisted and turned through the cavern.

The Journal noted that the story of the boys' entrapment and rescue will likely be retold in other media like TV and books in the coming months.

Four boys and their football coach are waiting to make the long and arduous journey out of the cave complex.

A team of around 100 heroes worked Sunday through Tuesday to get the 12 boys and their coach out of the cave, where they'd been trapped more than two weeks earlier by rising waters. Tuesday's operation began just after 10am.

Jedsada said they were uncertain what type of infections the boys could face "because we have never experienced this kind of issue from a deep cave".

Narongsak Osatanakorn said Tuesday's rescue operation began at 10.08 a.m. and involves 19 divers.

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The first eight boys rescued are now at a hospital, and they are in good conditions physically and mentally, Thai health officials said here on Tuesday.

Two of the boys had suspected lung infections but the four boys from the first group rescued were all walking around their beds.

"The kids are footballers so they have high immune systems", he added.

The first extraction on Sunday took 11 hours. Heavy rain has struck the region intermittently over the last three days and further downpours could set back draining efforts at the cave.

Elite military and divers from several countries entered the cave on three separate days to bring out the boys one by one. They were able to obtain water dripping inside the cave.

The third and hopefully final rescue mission is now underway.

Four more of the boys were carried on stretchers out of the labyrinthine Tham Luang cave on the Myanmar border at dusk on Monday, bringing to eight the number brought out after two rescue pushes on successive days.

Elon Musk visited the flooded Thailand cave to offer a "kid-sized" submarine to help with the rescue - only to be told his technology wasn't "practical" to the mission.

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