All boys plus coach now rescued

The huge cave  rescue effort in Thailand has been successful, with all twelve boys plus their football coach now rescued.

Unfortunately one rescue diver died last week while preparing for the rescue.

RNZ: Football team and coach successfully rescued from Thai cave

The remaining “Wild Boars” and their coach have emerged from a flooded cave in northern Thailand and been taken to hospital.

The rescue mission commander, Narongsak Osottanakorn has confirmed that all 12 boys, their coach, and four Thai Navy SEALS who spent a week underground with them, have been brought out.

A team of Thai Navy SEALS and foreign divers guided four boys out on Sunday and a further four on Monday through narrow, murky flooded channels from deep inside the Tham Luang cave where they had been stranded for more than two weeks.

Read more on the final rescue as it happened.

Very good news.

Four more boys rescued from cave in Thailand

Following the rescue of four boys from the cave in northern Thailand on Sunday, another four boys have been rescued on Monday (overnight NZ time), with an attempt to rescue the remaining four boys and their coach on Tuesday.

Stuff: Four more Thai football team members freed in second cave rescue operation

Four more members of the Thai “Wild Boar” football team have been saved from the Tham Luang cave complex after another extraordinary day’s rescue effort in north-western Thailand.

The boys, guided to freedom by a diving team of 18 people that included both Thai navy SEALs and a specialist international dive team, emerged over three hours from about 4.30pm local time (9.30pm NZ Time).

The boys were transferred by ambulance, one-by-one, to a field hospital near the cave for an immediate medical assessment before being taken to the Chiang Rai hospital by a combination of helicopters and ambulances.

That means just five people remain in the cave and opens up the prospect of that quintet being evacuated as soon as Tuesday and this incredible effort drawing to a close.

The second dramatic rescue operation began on Monday at 11am local time (4pm NZT), 16 days after the team first went missing 3.2 kilometres deep inside the cave complex, while anxious relatives endured another agonising day.

Forecast monsoon rains have not yet eventuated, taking a bit of time pressure off the rescue.

So this is more good news.

Death of diver shows difficulty of Thai cave rescue, rain forecast

That it took nine days to find the thirteen people trapped deep in a cave in Thailand indicated the serious of their predicament.

It didn’t take long for warnings to be made about how difficult it would be getting them out of the flooded cave system, especially with the looming threat of several months of monsoon rains.

And the risks have been emphasised even more with the death of an expert diver, who ran out of oxygen on his way back out of the cave after dropping off oxygen tanks along the exit route.

BBC: Ex-navy diver dies on oxygen supply mission

Petty Officer Saman Gunan lost consciousness on his way out of the Tham Luang cave complex, where he had been delivering air tanks.

The group was found by British rescue divers after 10 days in the cave, perched on a rock shelf in a small chamber about 4km (2.5 miles) from the cave mouth.

Teams of Thai and international divers have since supplied them with food, oxygen and medical attention, but there are mounting concerns about the oxygen level in the chamber, which officials said had fallen to 15%. The usual level is 21%.

The death of Saman – a highly trained diver – on Thursday underscored the danger of moving from the chamber to mouth of the cave, and raised serious doubts about the safety of bringing the boys out through the cramped, flooded passageways.

The diver died after losing consciousness in one of the passageways, said Passakorn Boonyaluck, deputy governor of the Chiang Rai region, where the cave is situated.

“His job was to deliver oxygen. He did not have enough on his way back,” Mr Passakorn said.

Very sad.

On the surface, a huge military and civilian rescue operation is racing against the clock to bring the boys to safety. Heavy monsoon rains are expected on Sunday, threatening further flooding.

Officials had initially considered leaving the boys in the chamber to wait out the rainy season – which could have seen them trapped there for up to four months.

But Thailand’s Navy Seal commander suggested on Thursday that the divers may now have little choice but to attempt a daring emergency rescue – fraught with danger for the boys, who are aged 11 to 16 and some of whom cannot swim.

The latest news: Thailand cave rescue: no attempt to get boys out tonight, says governor

That was last night Thai time. It is nearly two weeks since they got trapped in the cave.

Official says even if rains start overnight, the football team ‘cannot dive at this time’

“There is no chance the boys will come out today. it is not suitable. they still cannot dive.”

He says the British diver, who came out of the cave at 9pm (local time), reported that the boys were fine.

The governor adds that he speaks to the families every day and asks if they want him to bring out the children right now. He says he wants the minimum risk before attempting the rescue.

If it rains, he says, the authorities “will try” to bring them out.

Efforts today to find appropriate locations to drill a shaft down to the stranded footballers were unsuccessful, meaning that the only viable option out is via the tunnels.

More: Full report: Falling oxygen levels add to risks of delays

Oxygen levels in their chamber may have fallen to about 15%, the deputy army commander Chalongchai Chaiyakham said at a briefing on Friday. Normal oxygen levels in the air are about 21%.

So many people – the boys, and the rescuers – in confined spaces are using up the available oxygen.

Updates from authorities throughout the week have emphasised the dangers of shepherding the boys through the cave to the exit, but the oxygen issues that emerged on Friday highlight the risks of keeping the boys in place during the monsoon.

Major decisions face those leading the rescue attempt. Very difficult decisions.

The cave is in Chiang Rai, which is in the north of Thailand:

Google Maps

Wikipedia:

Thailand is divided into three seasons.The first is the rainy or southwest monsoon season (mid–May to mid–October) which prevails over most of the country. This season is characterized by abundant rain with August and September being the wettest period of the year.

Nonetheless, dry spells commonly occur for 1 to 2 weeks from June to early July.

The boys and there coach became trapped just before a current dry spell.

This from weather.com shows the imminence of rain:

 

 

Boys and coach found alive in Thai cave

After a junior soccer team and their coach were trapped in a 10 km cave in a mountain in Thailand on Saturday 23 June (nine days ago) there was a sustained rescue attempt by Thai and international teams, often battling flood conditions.

The boys and coach have now been found alive.

Reuters: Junior soccer team found alive in Thai cave after nine days

Twelve boys and their assistant soccer coach have been found alive by rescuers inside a Thai cave complex nine days after they went missing, Chiang Rai province’s governor said on Monday.

The boys, aged between 11 and 16, went missing with the 25-year-old after soccer practice on June 23 after they set out to explore the Tham Luang cave complex in a forest park near by the border with Myanmar.

“Thai Navy seals have found all 13 with signs of life,” Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters who have been following the increasingly desperate search that has gripped the country.

Relatives of the boys, who have been at a shelter near the cave hoping for a breakthrough, were seen cheering, smiling and receiving calls after being given the news. Rescuers shook hands and congratulated each other as occasional cheers broke out.

It remains unclear whether any of the group are injured or in need of medical attention, but they have been given energy gels to sustain them while a plan is worked out to bring them to safety.

The shouldn’t have had a problem with thirst, but presumably will be hungry.

Kids still have adventures

While a lot of mollycoddling of children happens these days some kids are still allowed to have adventures.

Two boys from Cromwell got into a spot bother on a cliff face but were rescued and will have learnt from the experience.

ODT: Budding business venture on slippery slope

The first business venture for two young entrepreneurs turned into more of an adventure when they had to be rescued from a 45m cliff at Bannockburn while gathering stock for their budding business.

Cromwell Volunteer Fire Brigade’s line rescue crew lowers Carter Pearson to safety.

Nine-year-old friends Carter Pearson and Harvey Brown cycled 7km into Bannockburn from their Cromwell homes yesterday morning on a mission to find quartz crystals to sell.

Their outing was successful when they unearthed many crystals, rocks and fossils but their day took an unexpected turn when Harvey slipped several metres down a clay bank and Carter went to his aid.

“I tried to be Superman and save him but I slipped as well,” Carter said.

Both boys ended up on a narrow ledge above a sheer drop.

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“The boys were amazing really, very calm, which was good and they didn’t move at all,” she said.

Mr Pearson soon arrived.

“I climbed up above them, working out how to get to them with a rope but decided it was too risky, so rang the fire brigade,” he said.

The Cromwell Volunteer Fire Brigade responded with its eight-strong line rescue crew.

Chief Fire Officer Steve Shaw said it was a challenging rescue but all went well.

The clay bank was wet and soggy with loose soil.

“It is a free drop from the ledge down, more or less, so they were very lucky … extremely lucky,” Mr Shaw said.

“The kids stayed put and were nice and calm. They did really well, actually, because they could’ve been quite upset but they just sat there and hung in there, so it was good.”

The boys were lifted to safety, one at a time, watched by their families.

So it was a tricky situation that could have ended badly but they came out of it ok.

Carter’s mother, Theresa Pearson, said the boys were “real outdoors kids”.

The boys were excited about their expedition and carried small shovels and a container for the crystals.

“You want them to be out and about, exploring and that’s what they were doing.”

“You can’t just wrap them up in cotton wool,” Mrs Pearson said.

It’s good to see that some kids are allowed to do this sort of thing still.

It’s very similar to the childhood I had, and while Bannockburn was a bit out of my territory I have played on the clay cliffs out there, the remnants of gold sluicing. It was real cowboy-like territory.

sluicings1

We would walk usually, or rather roam, for hours at a time and played in some fairly precarious locations at times. And survived. And learnt from the experiences.