The first two Thai schoolboys have been brought out ‘alive and well’ after divers executed a carefully constructed rescue mission.
The starved and exhausted pair are currently being transported to hospital in a military helicopter. They were treated at the cave’s entrance before an ambulance rushed them to the helicopter which was on standby.
According to Tossathep Boonthong, chief of Chiang Rai’s health department and part of the rescue team, ”Two kids are out, yhey received treatment at the field hospital near the cave.’
An extraction team of 18 international divers started their ‘extremely dangerous’ operation at 10am local time after the boys’ anxious families were informed. All of the youngsters and their 25-year-old coach are expected to emerge one by one from the cave as early as 9pm if everything goes to plan, Governor Narongsak said.
Each boy will be accompanied by two divers on the perilous 4km (2.5miles) journey through murky waters and narrow tunnels. It’s understood they will be able to walk most of the way after teams drained the water level by 30cm (12ins) last night.
According to Thai media the trapped boys were expected to be divided into four groups – with the first group containing four boys and the second, third and fourth containing three players each. The boys are trapped 800 metres below ground, which is the equivalent of two Empire State Buildings on top of one another.
‘Today is D-Day,’ the governor who has led the rescue announced. ‘The water level has reached the lowest it has been in ten days. We ask to pray that this operation is a success.’