Thai cave rescue: How a casual expedition turned into a nightmare

Former navy diver dies during Thailand cave rescue effort

Former navy diver dies during Thailand cave rescue effort

A Thai Navy SEAL commander told reporters he believed there was "a limited amount of time" left to rescue the team, who wandered into the caves on June 23 after soccer practice. However, there has been no official word on this so far.

At 10am local time, 18 divers went into the cave to bring out the boys - including 13 global divers and five Thai Navy Seals.

The boys, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach entered the cave to celebrate a birthday.

Chiang Rai acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn, who is heading the operation, said that 13 foreign and five Thai divers were taking part in the rescue and that two divers would accompany each boy as they're gradually extracted.

He said the 13 are very ready to come out and the rescue team is at "peak readiness" and have been practising for the past three to four days.

Two divers are helping each of the boys out as families wait nervously outside the cave entrance - 2.5 miles (4km) from where they were trapped.

A former Navy SEAL and combat swimmer said that the risky and harrowing rescue of a soccer team trapped in a flooded Thailand cave was comparable to climbing the tallest mountain in the world.

The rescue teams had rehearsed the plan for several days, Mr. Narongsak said, and had managed to drain the water level in the cave considerably, but needed to move fast.

Trapped for two weeks: A massive rescue operation was launched after the boys, ages 11-16, and their coach went missing on June 23. Outside the cave, the mother of one of the boys said she was "glad" for a glimpse of her son.

"I confirm that we are at war with water and time from the first day up to today", Narongsak added Saturday. They wore full-faced masks and hung on to divers' bodies on their way out, Narongsak said.

An Australian doctor who is part of the global team of rescuers checked the health of the boys Saturday to decide who should be brought to the surface first. "We have tried all possible ways to get the boys out, but sometimes we can't win over nature".

Last week, as hopes for rescue were fading, divers found that the boys and their coach had survived and were trapped on a ledge deep inside the cave.

Onlookers watch and cheer as ambulances deliver boys rescued from a cave in northern Thailand to hospital in Chiang Rai after they were transported by helicopters on July 8, 2018 in Chiangrai, Thailand.

U.S. President Donald Trump said the United States was working "very closely" with the Thai government to free the boys."Very fearless and talented people!" he tweeted.

There was no official announcement as to which four boys the divers were able to bring through the cave.

"If he didn't go with them, what would have happened to my child?" said the mother of Pornchai Khamluang, one of the boys, in an interview with a Thai TV network.

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