The insanely hazardous Thai cave rescue has started well

The boys and their coach. /COURTESY

The entire world has their eyes fixed on the tireless rescue operations that are now underway in Tham Luang cave in Thailand where a junior football team of 12 boys led by a young coach is trapped.

Thai authorities have confirmed that four members of the football team that was left stranded in a cave have now been rescued.

A former Navy SEAL and combat swimmer said that the risky and harrowing rescue of a soccer team trapped in a flooded Thailand cave was comparable to climbing the tallest mountain in the world.

The group became trapped in a cramped chamber deep inside Tham Luang in a mountainous area of northern Thailand on June 23, when they went in after football practice and got caught behind rising waters.

The young soccer team and their coach have been trapped in the vast cave system since June 23, when monsoon rains flooded the cave while they were exploring inside.

The cave is a karstic cave complex under the Doi Nang Non mountain range that lies on the border between Thailand and Myanmar. Earlier efforts to pump out water from the cave have been set back every time there has been a heavy downpour.

A total of 18 expert divers - 13 worldwide and five Thai - were proceeding deep into the hillside through the waterlogged passages to the chamber where the team is located. "Divers will work with doctors in the cave to examine each the kids' health to determine who should get to come out first", Narongsak said Sunday morning.

The boys - cold, malnourished and exhausted - will have to swim large sections of the underground maze and squeeze through tiny gaps, some no bigger than 30cm.

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Temperatures will be a touch cooler in the Midwest, but heat index levels will still hover around 100 degrees from Texas to MI . The heat will expand toward the Northeast on Saturday with temperatures in the 90s and heat index values into the upper 90s.

Three ambulances carried the boys to safety, CNN reported. Osottanakorn said they will resume in 10 to 20 hours because "we've used all the oxygen".

"Narongsak Osatanakorn, the head of the joint command centre coordinating the rescue, said Sunday morning was the most opportune time to launch the operation, citing the flawless weather, water and the kids' readiness, physical and mental".

USA president Donald Trump confirmed this morning in a tweet that the USA is among the six countries assisting Thai officials.

"They are ready in every way", he said.

The entire operation to rescue all 13 could last two to four days, depending on weather and water conditions, said army Maj.

That along with dwindling oxygen levels added to the urgency of getting the team out.

A total of 13 helicopters were on standby at the beginning of the rescue operation in case they were needed to take the boys and their coach to hospital quickly. The earliest a group was expected to emerge was 9 p.m. Sunday local time.

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