Four more members of the Wild Boars—the Thai soccer team trapped in a cave whose predicament has fascinated the world—have been rescued. That brings the number of freed boys up to 8 out of 12. The team’s coach remains below with the four remaining trapped boys.
Although rain clouds threatened to impair today’s effort, the good weather held, allowing the same divers from yesterday’s successful rescue to re-enter the winding Tham Luang cave complex. Starting from their operational center inside the cave, the team swam six hours to reach the trapped boys, who have been trapped since powerful flooding caught them off guard while exploring the caves on June 24.
More ambulances have arrived carrying these boys to the hospital tonight. So good to see this. pic.twitter.com/dAjkM2Z7bT
— Matt Rivers (@MattRiversCNN) July 9, 2018
When being led out of the caves, the boys were wearing full face masks, according to CNN. This is likely due to one of the chief medical dangers facing the boys while trapped below ground: a lack of oxygen. Oxygen levels in the cave dropped to as low as 15 percent, far below the optimal range of 21 percent that people experience at sea level. All the rescued boys have been brought to area hospitals. While not elaborating, rescue commander Narongsak Osotthanakorn said in a press conference that the newly rescued boys were in better shape than those rescued on Sunday.
Just a few days ago, the options for rescue seemed to be dwindling in the face of tough conditions in the cave and bad weather outside it. Rescue operations hit a low point when ex-Thai Navy SEAL Saman Kunan died during a flash flood after supplying the boys with oxygen tank. Kunan’s death highlighted the extreme difficulties still facing rescuers as they work to get out the five remaining survivors.
In the last couple of days, however, the weather has proved favorable and the rescue teams have taken full advantage of the moment. Monday’s attempt actually occurred four hours ahead of schedule given the conditions.
Rescue operations have ended for the day. The divers will rest for the day and begin prep for the next attempt, which should take place tomorrow but is subject to weather.
Previously published by: Popular Mechanics USA