Not All Heroes Wear Capes: Divers Fearlessly Continue Mission To Rescue Thailand Boys From Cave

More than two weeks ago, a youth soccer team and their coach went on a recreational cave-exploring trip in Thailand where they were stuck and unable to escape on their own. After venturing into the Thailand mountain range cave, rainy weather conditions brought an unexpectedly large amount of water into the cave and prevented any escape path. The water continued to rise, forcing the team to travel further into the cave to avoid floodwaters. Water filled most of the tunnel, leaving the team stranded on a high plateau more than two miles into the cave.

A group of divers from the Thailand Navy is continuing a relentless expedition to rescue the team from the cave system, which requires two divers to escort one boy for an “hours-long” trip out of the cave swimming through narrow canals and through choke-points.

Here’s the latest, per Fox News:

Rescuers in Thailand on Monday freed four more members of the boys soccer team stranded in a flooded cave complex, as part of the second phase of a desperate rescue operation that aims to save four more kids and the team’s coach before heavy rains imperil the effort.

Four ambulances with flashing lights were spotted leaving the area as an aide to a Thai navy SEAL commander told the Associated Press that four boys were brought out of the cave on Monday, bringing the total to eight rescued so far.

Thai navy SEALs said Sunday they successfully retrieved four members of the youth soccer team from the cave where they had been trapped for more than two weeks in the first rescue operation.

The effort to rescue the boys and their coach has taken several days. As Daily Wire reports, each trip into the cave to reach the boys takes the team of divers five hours. The trip out, taking one boy at a time, takes six hours. “Three of those six hours will involve underwater swimming,” the report adds.

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Daily Wire reports there is a heightened urgency as another rain storm is expected, so rescue teams are in a race against time:

The boys disappeared… and were discovered Monday more than two miles deep into a cave system that criss-crosses through Thailand’s steep mountain range. They’d set out to explore a shallow stretch of cave as part of a team activity, but were driven further and further into the mountain by rising water levels as monsoon-like rains filled dry lakes and crevices on the cave path.

Rescuers found the boys huddled on a plateau; the team had climbed to the highest point they could find to avoid rising floodwaters.

By Friday, the situation had become dire: Thai officials are anticipating another monsoon-like storm next Monday, and the boys had to be rescued before then or they could face months underground, blocked off from the cave entrance by water. Divers, who had been vising the boys to provide food and letters from their parents, reported ever-rising water levels, making the trips in and out treacherous, and Saturday, rescuers reported that oxygen levels in the cave had dropped from 20% to 15%.

One Thai Navy diver died during the rescue operation. The diver, Saman Gunan, brought the team and their coach much-needed oxygen tanks before he reportedly ran out of oxygen himself and failed to emerge from the cave.

Per ABC 7:

Friday’s death of the former SEAL underscores those risks. The diver was working in a volunteer capacity and died during an overnight mission in which he was placing oxygen canisters along the route divers must take to get to the children, [Thai SEAL commander Arpakorn Yookongkaew] said.

The strategically placed canisters allow divers to stay underwater for longer during what is about a five-hour trip to reach the stranded team.

While underwater, the rescuer passed out and efforts to resuscitate him failed, Arpakorn said. Another Navy official said he didn’t believe the man’s oxygen tank ran out.

“Despite this, we will continue until we accomplish our mission,” Arpakorn said.


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