5th boy rescued from Thailand cave as operations continue

ABC News(CHIANG RAI, Thailand) — A dive team brought a fifth boy out of a cave in Thailand Monday and were working at lightning speed to recover his coach and seven soccer teammates still trapped underground a day after the first four boys were successfully evacuated in an international rescue mission that has gripped the attention of the world.

The latest rescue was completed just after 5 p.m. local time, 6 p.m. Eastern time, a source close to the rescue operation said, about six hours after divers entered the jungle cave to resume the operation to save the remaining members of the soccer team that has now been in the cavern for 17 days.

The second phase began at 11 a.m. local time, which is midnight Eastern time.

“I insist that all 13 will be safe and sound,” provincial Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn said.

The boys have been trapped in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave since June 23 when they and their coach entered and were then cut off by flash flooding.

Officials called the four boys who have already been rescued, “hungry, but happy.” Officials said the boys are already eager to eat khao pad ka pow (fried rice with basil).

While the boys have been rescued from the cave, parents haven’t actually gotten a chance to meet with them. The boys are being quarantined due to the fear of infection. Officials did say they were considering allowing the parents to meet with the boys through a glass partition in the meantime.

The recovery mission was begun in earnest on Sunday due to favorable weather conditions. Approaching monsoons threatened to overwhelm the rescuers’ pumps and flood the cave again. Officials said Monday that despite rain Monday morning, the weather was holding out so far.

“A lot of people were afraid if it were to rain a lot. It rained continuously on Sunday and this morning,” Osatanakorn said. “The weather is good now, but cloudy.”

The international effort to save the group has paired divers in “buddy teams” with the remaining eight boys and their coach. Officials had said before restarting the efforts that they hoped to have all nine people remaining in the cave rescued by the end of Monday local time.

“Today was very successful, more than expected,” Osatanakorn said Sunday.

The first boy emerged from the cave at 5:40 p.m. local time, followed 10 to 20 minutes later the second boy, Osatanakorn said. About two hours later, the third and fourth boys were pulled from the cave 10 minutes apart, he said.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.