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By: Samuel .M. Chinwe
Since the search for the 12 soccer team players aged between 11-16 and their coach aged 25 began it became big international news with non-stop international support and a restless period for rescuers, hope returned after two British divers were able to reach them after 10 days, even though it has being reported that they might stay for months in there due to the monsoon rain. Its was later noted that with the forthcoming rain forecast the downpour might be heavy to the extent of flooding the entire cave putting the lives of both divers and the kids to risk, this pushed team of rescuers to act faster.
At about 5.30pm local time on Sunday the first two boys emerged from the cave all on full-face scuba masks, and were embraced by the divers who led them out. Two hours later, another two boys were brought out about 10 minutes apart leaving the remaining 8 players with their 25year old coach. The four rescued were conveyed to an isolation center in Chiang Rai the nearest city to the cave where they might not have contact with families for about 1-2 days.
Since the teams were discovered last week it has being an average of 11 hours runtime to and fro for divers through the cave but rescuing this first set of four boys took only 9hrs making it the fastest so far.
Narongsak Osatanakorn who is the head of the joint command center coordinating the operation, said that for rescuers to rest and prepare for next rescue operation, 10-20 hours was needed.
On Monday, 8 divers who were to accompany the kids out went into the cave around 11am local time and sources at rescue site claimed the fifth boy was out at about 5:00pm, the sixth boy came out an hour later, shortly after, the 7th and 8th were already heading to the hospital. By this time around, the divers were now making the task faster as it took about 5-and-a-half hours.
Rescue was suspended just like as it was on Sunday’s and according to Narongsak Osatanakorn they were adopting 4 per day task. The first set have now being able to see their parents through glass doors, all who have being requesting for a rich Thai dish known as pad krapow (Spicy Thai Basil Chicken) but are still being given diluted porridge. In the meantime they will all be staying at the hospital for the next 7days in other words missing the invitation of the FIFA president for the world cup, two for now have minor lung infections.
Today being Tuesday 19 divers went back into the cave system at 10.08am, local time with the target of bringing out the 4 remaining boys and their coach, the medics and Navy seals who have being with them all the while. Around 3:18pm local time today the 9th boy was sighted on a stretcher, by 3:37pm the tenth was out and by 4: 20pm the 11th who most people are claiming to be the youngest and few minutes before 7pm local time the last boy came out, then the coach too.
And so all of those trapped in the cave were rescued.
Sadly, a Thai ex-Navy Seal, Petty Officer Saman Gunan lost consciousness on his way out of the Tham Luang cave complex, he had been delivering air tanks to the boys and their coach. He will be remembered as a hero of this story.
Despite this tinge of sadness, we congratulate the ‘Wild Boars’ as the team is called, their families, the people and government of Thailand and the international rescuers for a job well-done.