Thailand cave rescue: Why the boys are being kept in isolation

Thailand cave rescue: Why the boys are being kept in isolation

Thailand cave rescue: Why the boys are being kept in isolation

An Australian doctor's assessment of the 12 boys trapped in a cave in northern Thailand with their coach appears to have persuaded rescuers to change their initial strategy and to bring the weakest boys out first.

At a news conference Monday, former Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn said the second rescue involved numerous same divers who brought the four boys out on Sunday.

Officials said late Sunday they'd need to pause the operation for at least 10 hours to fill oxygen tanks that had been depleted during the first phase of the rescue mission.

Workers have been laboring around the clock to pump water out of the cave, and officials said Monday that despite heavy downpours overnight, water levels inside the cave did not rise. "And we have more expertise than yesterday", he said.

Police and military personnel use umbrellas to cover a stretcher as it is carried to a helicopter from an ambulance at a military airport in Chiang Rai, Thailand, on Monday, as rescue operations continue for those still trapped inside the cave in Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in the Mae Sai district.

The second leg of the risky operation was placed on hold after Sunday's rescue as air canisters were replenished along the underwater route to where the boys and their coach have been trapped for nearly two weeks.

Now just four of the youngsters and their coach remain in the hellish Tham Luang cave, in northern Thailand.

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The 31cm-wide custom submarine would make the boys passive participants in the rescue and could potentially shorten the journey, which took divers a total of nine hours in the second successful rescue operation on Monday.

Monday's mission involved 18 divers from Thailand and overseas.

Narongsak Osottanakorn said in a press conference on Monday night that it will be up to the divers to decide whether it is possible to save all five at once. Scores of other volunteer cave divers from around the world helped by delivering air refill tanks and tightening the guide rope along the route, which includes ten "choke points" where the mud-clogged tunnel is terrifyingly narrow. "Some of them had gone to rest, some others are preparing for the next operation".

"The fact that it took so many hours underscores how precarious this whole mission is", she said.

"People jump to think about the exotic stuff, but it's important to focus also on the common" stuff, Adalja said.

Musk hasn't revealed whether his engineers have arrived on the ground in Thailand or been able to assist in the precarious rescue effort.

There were several concerns that prompted authorities to move forward with the plan to dive the boys out. More worrying, however, oxygen levels in the chamber where the boys sought refuge were falling.

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