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Six of 12 boys rescued inside flooded cave

Mae Sai, Thailand—At least six boys among a group of 13 trapped inside a flooded Thai cave emerged on Sunday.

The first two boys have already been airlifted to a hospital in Chiang Rai, while the four are in the field hospital outside Tham Luang cave.

Elite divers on Sunday began the extremely dangerous operation to extract the 12 boys and their football coach who have been trapped in the flooded cave complex in northern Thailand for more than two weeks, as looming monsoon rains threatened the rescue effort.

The “Wild Boars” team has been stuck in a cramped chamber several kilometers inside the Tham Luang cave complex since June 23, when they went in after football practice and were hemmed in by rising waters.

Their plight has transfixed Thailand and the rest of the world, as authorities have struggled to devise a plan to get the boys and their coach out through twisting, narrow and jagged passageways that in some places are completely flooded.

“Today is the D-day. The boys are ready to face any challenges,” rescue chief Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters near the cave site as weather forecasters warned of more monsoon rains that would cause more flooding in the cave.

The boys, aged from 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach were found disheveled and hungry by British cave diving specialists nine days after they ventured in.

But initial euphoria over finding the boys alive quickly turned into deep anxiety as rescuers raced to find a way to get them out, with Narongsak at one point dubbing the effort “Mission Impossible.”

The death of a former Thai Navy Seal diver who ran out of oxygen in the cave on Friday underscored the danger of the journey even for adept professionals.

Saman Kunan had been trying to establish an airline in a flooded area with oxygen tanks when he passed out and perished.

Topics: Thai cave , Tham Luang cave , Chiang Rai , Wild Boars , Narongsak Osottanakorn
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