The insanely hazardous Thai cave rescue has started well

Rescue teams from Thailand and around the world are now resting for the night.
Rescue teams from Thailand and around the world are now resting for the night.
Image: Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun
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Four of the 12 boys trapped in a cave in northern Thailand have been safely rescued and taken to hospital, according to several news outlets.

An additional eight boys, ages 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach are still inside the Tham Luang cave, where they’ve been trapped by flood waters since June 23. The boys, all members of a local soccer team called the Wild Boars, had been hiking in the caves when they became trapped by rain waters. British divers were first to locate the boys on Monday, July 2.

The rescue operation will now pause for at least 10 hours, according to Narongsak Osatanakorn, chief of the command centers coordinating the rescue, so that divers can replenish their oxygen tanks. In total, the mission could last several days, he also said, though the team of international divers on the site are apparently feeling “buoyed” by the success of the operation so far.

The rescue mission had called today “D-Day” because the water was at its lowest since the boys were discovered and heavy rains were forecast for later this week, giving them only four days to get all the boys out. But it began raining heavily just after the first boys were rescued.

The journey to reach the cavern where the boys are waiting —which is roughly 2.4 km (1.5 miles)—can take about six hours (paywall), as divers negotiate openings as narrow as 2 ft tall in the cave network, so narrow that a scuba diver can’t swim through with an air tank on their back. This week, a former Thai navy diver died during one of the rescue missions.

The team of 18 divers entering the cave have budgeted 11 hours for each rescue attempt to get the boys out—five hours to get there and six hours to get the boys out, with a one-hour rest.

US president Donald Trump confirmed this morning in a tweet that the US is among the six countries assisting Thai officials. The American team of 30 people at the site includes 17 Air Force search-and-rescue specialists. Elon Musk has also dispatched engineers from Tesla, Space X, and the Boring Company.

Operations are set to begin again at 8am local time on Monday.