Twelve boys and their football coach who had been trapped in a flooded Thai cave are now being rescued. The tunnel is extremely narrow, and completely dark.
AFP news agency quotes an official saying four boys in Thai cave have reached a rescue camp, and have been brought out of the cave.
Thirteen foreign divers and five members of Thailand’s elite navy SEAL unit are were engaged in bringing out the boys.
They were trapped more than four kilometres from the entrance because of monsoon rains.
Their ordeal has drawn huge media attention in Thailand and abroad, and getting the boys out safely could be a boost for Thailand’s ruling junta ahead of a general election next year.
The rescue effort is likely to take two to three days to complete, Major General Chalongchai Chaiyakorn, an army commander, told reporters, adding it “depends on other factors like the weather”.
The boys, aged from 11 and 16, have no diving experience and some can’t even swim. They have received training recently, in preparation for the extraction effort, but they will have to swim using scuba gear through fast-flowing water in darkness, a challenge for even trained divers.
Authorities have highlighted the tiny passageway near T-Junction, or Sam Yak in Thai, as the most dangerous element of the journey for the “Wild Boars” team that began Sunday morning, but there are many other potential pitfalls.
The difficulty of the journey was underscored when a former Thai Navy Seal diver died on Friday after running out of oxygen in the cave.
(With agency inputs)