THAI CAVE BOYS FINALLY RESCUED AFTER 18 DAYS
-By Joseph Edun
The Thai football team of 12 boys and their 25-year old coach who entered the Tham Luang cave on June 23 and got stuck have finally been rescued after a total of 18 days in the cave. The rescue team which consisted of the Thai Navy SEALs, soldiers, police, divers, cave experts as well as experts from the US, China, Australian began searching for the boys on June 24, and found them 9days after seated on a ledge looking hungry and weak.
Getting them out of the cave was however impossible then due to the high level of the flood in the cave and the continuous heavy rainfall. The rescue operation was therefore put on hold for six days to plan the logistics of recovering them from the cave. However, there were seven divers and medics who kept the boys company in the cave.
On July 8, 16 days after the boys went missing, the first set of four boys were recovered when water levels in the cave had become optimal and some part walkable though the boys still had to use scuba equipment despite not having any diving skill but each was accompanied by two divers. This was made possible by the several days of pumping the water out of the cave with numerous large pumps. The boys were subsequently flown to a hospital in Chiang Rai city where an entire floor had been prepared for their arrival. The following day, another set of four boys were rescued remaining four in the cave with their teacher.
On July 10, after 18 days inside the cave, the final four boys and their coach were recovered to complete the three-day rescue operation. The last of the Wild Boars as the football team was popularly known then, were also flown to the hospital where they will be kept in isolation for up to seven days to avoid the risk of infection. The rescue mission sadly took the life of a former Thai navy SEAL, Saman Kunan, who died during an overnight mission to place oxygen canisters along the cave route. His own oxygen is believed to have run out, illustrating how dangerous the rescue mission
The rescue of the boys has sparked widespread celebration in Thailand and the boys have also been invited to watch the final match of the World Cup in Moscow by FIFA president, Gianni Infantino.