At least six Thai boys have been rescued after being trapped in a cave with seven other people for more than two weeks.
The six boys are out of the cave thanks to an international team of divers, reported Voice of America correspondent Steve Herman. The first two boys to emerge were examined by doctors before they could be airlifted to a hospital, said Tossathep Boonthong, a health official in nearby city Chiang Rai and part of the rescue team, according to the Independent. There are reports that two of the boys are already en route to the hospital.
A helicopter flies from #ThamLuang cave complex towards Chiang Rai's city centre following reports of first two boys successfully evacuated. They'll be sent to a hospital for medical care https://t.co/Nz93mYEwJj pic.twitter.com/WVRlAFlSMX
— Pichayada P. (@PichayadaCNA) July 8, 2018
The rescue operation, which divers estimated would take about 11 hours round-trip, is proceeding ahead of schedule.
The soccer team of 12 boys and their 25-year-old coach went exploring in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave network on June 23, but were forced up higher and higher when seasonal rains flooded its passages, reported CNN.
Two British divers found the boys on Tuesday in a dry chamber of the cave located more than a mile from where the group of 13 first entered. The divers accessed the chamber through a narrow channel. Extracting the boys out via that channel proved easier said than done as they were weak from hunger and did not know how to scuba dive, or, in some cases, know how to swim at all.
Rescue teams have been pumping water out of the cave to keep the boys’ chamber dry, but it was not enough to make for an easy rescue, reported BBC. Rescuers were afraid at one point that they would have to wait until the rainy season ended in October to conduct a rescue operation.
h/t Daily Caller