Thailand cave rescue: Evacuation of 12 trapped schoolboys from Tham Luang

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Thailand cave rescue: Evacuation of 12 trapped schoolboys from Tham Luang

There has been a flurry of activity at the site today.

Journalists on the scene report that "the trend toward an imminent rescue attempt continues", news.com.au reports. The mission got underway as the monsoon storm clouds finally burst open, with rain showers drenching the mountainous countryside.

The oxygen tanks are needed because levels are dropping down to an alarming 15 percent. His team would camp out on the hill to try and finish their work before the rain came, he said.

"Journalists are now being forced to leave the area and about a dozen additional ambulances have been brought in. No official word yet", he tweeted.

The operation to rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped in a cave in Thailand has begun, Chiang Rai acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn said Sunday morning.

The boys, aged between 11 and 16, went missing with the 25-year-old chaperone after soccer practice last month as they set out to explore the Tham Luang cave. Monsoon flooding cut off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for nearly 10 days as the only way to reach them was by navigating dark and tight passageways filled with muddy water and strong currents. The only way to reach them was by navigating dark and tight passageways filled with muddy water and strong currents.

"I have no doubt that if the government of the country puts in everything and makes all possible efforts, this rescue will be successful", Mario Sepulveda, one of the 33 Chilean miners trapped underground for 69 days in 2010, said in a video sent to AFP meant for the group. The route is complicated by twists and turns in narrow flooded passages.

"Now and in the next three or four days, the conditions are ideal [for evacuation] in terms of the water, the weather and the boys' health", rescue-operation chief Narongsak Osottanakorn said Saturday. "They don't know the Thai people". It is only a small battle we've won, but the war has not ended. "At 10am, 13 foreign divers went in to rescue the boys with five Thai navy SEAL divers".

Sustained heavy rains could make the water rise to the shelf where the children are sitting, reducing the area to "less than 10 square meters", he added, citing estimates from cave divers and experts.

"We hope for nothing but the best outcome for the trapped children, their families, and the global team involved in the rescue operations, and would like to thank the many members who have offered suggestions or volunteered to assist".

"According to the plan, if we let them dive out, the most risky point is extremely narrow, the boys will have to dive by themselves, the water is quite deep and long at that point and the [Thai Navy] Seals can't be next to them".

"Father and mother, please don't worry about me". Grandpa, Uncle, Mom, Dad and siblings, I love you all. "Love you all", wrote Mick.

"Don't worry, I'm fine".

"I have been away for two weeks but will come back and help you sell your stuff".

Another wrote: "I'm fine but it's a little bit cold, don't worry and don't forget my birthday". "Teacher, don't give us lots of homework!"

A former Thai navy diver has died after losing consciousness after taking in supplies to the Thailand cave where twelve boys and their football coach are trapped.

"The SEAL team takes very good care of us", wrote Panumat "Mix" Saengdee, 14.

"I also sincerely apologise to the kids' parents".

The rescue teams had rehearsed the plan for several days, Narongsak said, and they had to move now.

The group was found to be skinny, but in good health, and have received high-protein drinks as they are treated by the Underwater Demolition Assault Unit.

But he warned "the problem is beyond the T-junction, where the water level is quite high". Are you thinking of them during this unsafe mission?

The handwritten letters from the group were handed to British divers on Friday and released on the Thai Navy Seal Facebook page on Saturday. He also offered suggestions on how to improve the rescue effort.

Over the past couple of weeks, officials had been exploring different ways to get the boys out, including drilling down into the cave or looking at other entrances to the mountainside.

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