Elite divers on Sunday began the extremely risky operation to extract 12 boys and their football coach who have been trapped in a flooded cave complex in northern Thailand for more than two weeks, with some of the rescuers reaching the area where the team is sheltering.
The second rescue mission to retrieve the eight remaining boys and their soccer coach trapped inside a Thai cave must overcome a number of challenges if it is to be successful. The boys' ordeal of the has drawn huge media attention in Thailand and overseas, and getting the boys out safely could be a boost for Thailand's junta ahead of a general election next year.
After making contact with the stranded group, 13 foreign and 5 Thai divers begun the mission to rescue the boys and the coach.
The boys and an adult were stuck 4 km inside the Tham Luang cave.
The boys, ages 11-16, and their 25-year-old coach have been trapped in the complex cave system since June 23 by flooded passageways.
The first four boys have been rescued from the cave in Thailand where they have been trapped for two weeks.
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Narongsak said that conditions inside the cave were the best they could hope for and that water levels were now so low after days of good weather and constant draining that long stretches of the passage were now walk-able.
"We have reached peak readiness", the governor said.
"We're still at war with water and time", he said.
The boys were rescued using full face masks, Narongsak said at a news conference where he described it as the "very smooth operation". Because the journey through the cave is so treacherous, it is expected to take 11 hours to bring each boy to safety, CBS News reported.
Thai military bring water pumps to the cave on July 6, 2018 in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Narongsak said the healthiest have been taken out first, and the next phase of the operation would start in 10-20 hours.
Having completed this section, the boys are then handed over to separate, specialist rescue teams, who help assist them through the remainder of the caves, much of which they can wade through. The two have been airlifted to Chiangrai Prachanukroh Hospital in Chiang Rai for medical treatment, 43 miles (70 kilometers) from the rescue site.
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A source at the hospital said that five emergency response doctors were awaiting the party and a further 30 doctors were on stand-by, adding that everyone was feeling tense.
"We are anxious every day", she said. Down the street, a loud speaker told vendors to "keep off the road" and to "not obstruct the transfer mission". Powerwalls, the spokesman said.
On Saturday, Thai Navy SEALS published touching notes scrawled by the trapped footballers to their families, who had been waiting for them agonisingly close by outside the cave entrance.
An worldwide team has taken shifts bringing them food, medical supplies and comforting letters from their parents.
Two ambulances leave the cave site where extraction operations are underway. 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".
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