4 more boys brought out of flooded Thai cave

4 more boys brought out of flooded Thai cave

4 more boys brought out of flooded Thai cave

"Rescue chief Narongsak Osottanakorn refused to rule out 25-year-old Ekaphol Chantawong being left inside the cave if the four remaining pupils are rescued today, because the divers" system of taking that many at a time was working well.

The plight of the boys, aged 11-16, and their coach, has riveted Thailand and much of the world - from the heart-sinking news they were trapped to the first flickering video of the huddle of anxious yet smiling boys brought back by the pair of British divers who found them after penetrating deep into the sprawling cave.

He said rescuers would resume an operation to retrieve a remaining five people in about 20 hours' time.

The next phase of the rescue operation is likely to take place Tuesday, reporters on the scene said, though Narongsak declined to provide an exact time.

The risky bid to rescue the boys - aged between 11 and 16 - got going again hours earlier on Monday after a break to replenish oxygen supplies and make other preparations deep inside the cave complex in northern Thailand's Chiang Rai province.

So far, four boys out of the 12 trapped are confirmed to have been rescued from the cave. Wearing full-face masks, the boys either swam or were pulled along.

Operations kicked off at about 5am BST (11am Thai time) when a team of 18 elite Thai and global divers entered the cave. Locals were required because none of the foreigners speak Thai and communication before and during the dive was key.

Officials lavished praise on the Thai and global divers who, in pairs of two, executed the risky rescue mission, guiding the boys, who could barely swim and had no diving experience, through a treacherous 4-kilometer-long (2 1/2-mile) escape route that twisted and turned through the cavern.

HHS now estimates under 3,000 kids separated from parents in government custody
Once HHS reunifies the families , they will be in the custody of the Department of Homeland Security, Azar said. He also ordered the government to make sure all parents had a way to contact their children by July 6.

Ultimately, however, there are so many unknowns, and it's hard to predict what pathogens, if any, the boys have been exposed to, Adalja said.

Additional rescue personnel, including divers from Thailand, the US, Australia, China and Europe, were stationed between the third chamber and the entrance, where the boys would have to use a rope to traverse challenging terrain. The rescued boys had to travel almost two and a half miles from inside the cave to reach the outside, a path that is partially submerged in fast-flowing freezing water and with peaks and crevices extremely hard to fit through.

Monsoon rains have started falling again, causing water levels inside the cave to rise, squeezing the boys in an ever shrinking space inside the cave, and causing oxygen levels to drop.

Weather forecasters warned heavy rain could hit the area through the week.

"People jump to think about the exotic stuff, but it's important to focus also on the common" stuff, Adalja said. "The boys' strength, the plan - today we are ready like before".

Water levels inside the cave are fluctuating, making it hard to know for sure how long some of the dives will take.

The death Friday of a former Thai navy SEAL underscored the risks. He had said fresh air tanks needed to be laid along the underwater route.

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