DoD Personnel Assist in Thai Cave Rescue Operations

SBS News

In a press conference, Narongsak said the four who escaped were "safe" but released few details about their condition or identities. Officials have said storms forecast for Chiang Rai province in Thailand's far north had factored into their decision to go ahead with a complicated and unsafe plan to have the boys and their coach dive out of the cave.

Alluding to that worry, the regional army commander offered his thanks Monday to the rain god Phra Pirun, imploring him to "keep showing us mercy".

Authorities had said that incoming monsoon rains that could send water levels in the cave rising, coupled with falling oxygen levels in the enclosed space, added to the urgency of getting those trapped out. "Four boys were brought out today".

In a letter of his own, the coach, Ekapol Chanthawong, apologized to the boys' parents for the ordeal.

Extracting group could take three to four days.

Divers at the site told the Guardian on Monday morning they were preparing to re-enter the cave where they spent more than eight hours on Sunday guiding four of the 12 trapped boys to freedom.

And Gianna Infantino, the president of Federation Internationale de Football Association, soccer's governing body, has invited the boys to the World Cup final in Moscow on Sunday.

"So, it's not so much how they'll be feeling in the immediate aftermath - we would expect to see some strong reactions - or not - it depends upon many factors I don't know about".

Narongsak Osatanakorn, the former Chiang Rai governor who's been heading the rescue operation, said the four children had to dive more than half a mile to get to safety.

Two divers accompanied each of the boys, all of whom have been learning to dive only since July 2, when the first searchers found them.

The rescue mission is still underway.

In an indication of how unsafe the journey can be, a former Thai navy diver died in the caves on Friday. Sunday, expert divers rescued four of the boys. Cave exploring is something they usually do after practices, but this excursion proved costly after they were trapped by the heavy rains.

The soccer team had been trapped in the underground cave network since June 23, with flash floods causing water levels to rise, making it hard to get out. Efforts to pump water out of the cave have been set back by heavy downpours.

"I am still waiting here at the cave, keeping my fingers crossed to see whether my son will be one of those to come out today", Supaluk Sompiengjai, mother of Peerapat - known by his nickname "Night" - told AFP.

The Thai navy SEAL unit, which has been overseeing the rescue, later confirmed on its Facebook page that the total number of boys brought out was eight.

The submarine has been dubbed "Wild Boar, ' named after the young boys" soccer team. The search and rescue operation has involved dozens of global experts and rescuers, including a US military team.

On Sunday, Musk tweeted videos of his engineers testing a "kid-size submarine" underwater in Los Angeles - a submarine that apparently is now on its way to Thailand.

Musk posted videos on Twitter of the aluminum sub being tested at a swimming pool Sunday midafternoon California time. An international-level rescue mission began soon after, with hundreds of experts and military personnel from various countries arriving at the spot.

Authorities are unable to say whether all five will be brought to the surface together as they continue to navigate the risky rescue operation.

When looking at an animation of the cave rescue, Brick said, "The ceiling dips down enough in certain areas that it forms a waterproof seal when those passages fill up".

"Very fearless and talented people!" he tweeted.

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