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Former Navy SEAL: Thailand Cave Rescue Is Like 'Climbing Mount Everest'
09 July 2018, 12:08 | Pamela Mathis
Former navy diver dies during Thailand cave rescue effort
A risky mission to rescue 12 Thai schoolboys and their soccer coachtrapped inside a flooded cave for more than two weeks began on Sunday and authorities managed to bring out its first two survivors on Sunday evening.
The process is extremely risky, but officials say waters right now are at their optimal level inside the cave after a few days of better weather - and they're anxious about the potential for more rains to fill the flooded caves even further.
The boys, ranging in age from 11 to 16 years old, and their 25-year-old coach had been exploring in the cave after a practice game June 23. Monsoon flooding cut off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for nearly 10 days, CBS News reported.
The boys were rescued using full face masks, Narongsak said at a news conference where he described it as the "very smooth operation".
Governor of Chiang Rai province, Narongsak Osatanakorn, said: "Today is D-Day".
The boys were discovered by British divers Richard Stanton and John Volanthen on Monday. The acting Chiang Rai governor had said rescuers couldn't wait for flawless weather conditions because of several factors. A former Thai Navy SEAL passed out making the dive on Friday and died.
The rescue operation began at 10am local time with the first child expected to emerge at 9pm. The Thai navy confirmed to the Guardian that the first two boys were freed late on Sunday afternoon and then airlifted to Chiang Rai city, which is about 50 miles from the cave.
According to our correspondent, Thai officials have warned the rescue could take three or four days in the worst case scenario. With the water flooding the path of the cave, resue missions and teams from around the world are trying their best to find a way to get the group out.
Several methods of rescuing the boys and coach were considered, but reports of diminishing oxygen levels in the part of the cave where they were trapped increased the urgency of their extraction.
"We can only carry on the operation once we are ready and this will be done soon, because the air tank and other systems have to be reinstalled", he told reporters later.
Thai rescuers are being assisted by an worldwide team comprising experts from China, Australia, the USA and Britain.
The expedition started normally but things took a wrong turn when the group reportedly got stranded in the dark tunnels by a sudden inflow of water into the caves from the heavy rain.
"Night loves Dad and Mom and brother, don't worry about me", wrote another boy in the Thai manner of referring to one's self in the third person.
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