Local Thai community sending prayers to cave rescue operation

Local Thai community sending prayers to cave rescue operation

The ambulance drove toward a helipad, where a helicopter was seen taking off shortly after to the cheers of the crowd below. Apart from the Thai authorities, 19 Australian divers are a part of the risky rescue mission. But, at the same time, at his news conference at the end of the day, he said the next phase of the operation would start in 10 to 20 hours, which sounds like a break.

It's unclear how long the complex and risky rescue effort will take, but it could be days.

Thirteen foreign divers and five members of Thailand's elite navy SEAL unit are trying to bring the rest of the boys - some as young as 11 and weak swimmers - through narrow, submerged passageways that claimed the life of a former Thai navy diver on Friday.

Narongsak said Saturday that experts told him new rain could shrink the unflooded space where the boys are sheltering to just 10 square meters (108 square feet).

It had been assumed that the four extracted yesterday were boys, but it emerged that the fourth person taken out was the coach, Mr Ekapol.

Meanwhile, it was also reported that Osatanakorn would be transferred to another province but continue with his role as chief of the rescue mission.

Four boys among a group of 13 trapped in a flooded Thai cave reached the rescue base camp inside the complex on Sunday and will walk out soon, the country's defense ministry spokesman told AFP.

And remember - a lot of this cave is still flooded, which means some treacherous conditions for novice divers, like these boys are, even though they're being shepherded by two divers each, and there are ropes to guide them along the way.

Between four to six boys have been rescued in the first phase of the operation to free the trapped soccer team, Thai officials told reporters. The name was a reference to the boys' soccer team.

"We've used all the oxygen", Narongsak said, adding that the clock is continuing to tick for the remaining boys who are still waiting in the cave along with their coach, and rescuers are going to focus on refilling the oxygen tanks so they can continue the operation.

Narongsak said the first boy was expected to be brought out of the cave by around 9:00 p.m. (1400 GMT) after navigating the planned six-hour journey. The most problematic section of the trip has been revealed to be halfway out and named the "T-Junction" sue to the fact that it is so small divers are forced to remove their air tanks to pass it.

After a day of exploring in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in the northern province the boys and their coach became trapped on June 23.

Monsoon flooding cut off their escape route and prevented rescuers from finding them for nearly 10 days.

Musk first tweeted about the boys trapped in the cave on 4 July after somebody asked him if he would assist. Other divers were on guard along the risky first kilometer of the passageway.

"This morning they said they were hungry and wanted to eat khao pad grapao", Narongsak said, referring to a Thai dish of meat fried with chili and basil and served over rice.

A multi-pronged rescue effort has been underway since they were found almost a week ago.

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