9.40am – An operation to rescue the remaining five people from the Tham Luang cave complex in northern Thailand is set to resume on Tuesday (Jul 10), following the successful evacuation of four more boys on Monday.
Monday’s operation brought the total number of those rescued to eight, leaving four more boys and their football coach still trapped in the cave complex, where they have been stranded since Jun 23.
Those still in the cave are in good condition, according to a doctor. Officials hope that it will stay dry on Tuesday so that the rescue operation will go more quickly.
But the chances of monsoon rains sending torrents of water into the cave and making the rescue effort too risky is never far from the minds of everyone involved in the operation.
Alluding to that worry, the regional army commander offered his thanks Monday to the rain god Phra Pirun, imploring him to “keep showing us mercy”.
“Give us three more days and the Boars will come out to see the world, every one of them,” Maj-Gen. Bancha Duriyapan told a news conference punctuated by applause from the dozens of Thai and foreign journalists and others in attendance.
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.
With a traditional shout of “Hooyah!” Thai Navy Seals set off from their guesthouse in the northern Thai town of Mae Sai on Tuesday morning for a third rescue mission.
“We’re strong!” said the 15-strong group after a rousing pep talk from their commander about the dangerous mission ahead.
The men were in good spirits as they posed for photos and crossed their forearms in the Seals’ trademark symbol.
Gathering their hard hats and backpacks they headed out for the short drive to the caves where their role is to back up the first diving team which is expected to enter about 10:00am.
Prolonged rainfall overnight has increased anxiety about Tuesday’s mission, despite a successful and speedy extraction of eight boys since operations began on Sunday.
Tuesday morning has begun with overcast skies after rain began shortly after midnight, and divers will not know if water levels have risen inside the cave until the enter.
Two Thai military doctors have stayed in the chamber about 2.5 miles inside the cave network, where the remaining five survivors are sheltering.