Thailand cave rescue resumes — live updates

Four members of a boys soccer team in Thailand were rescued Sunday from a flooded cave where they were trapped for 16 days. The team of divers is expected to resume the mission Monday to rescue the remaining eight boys and their soccer coach.

The boys, ages 11-16, and their 25-year-old coach became stranded when they went exploring in the cave after a practice game. Monsoon flooding blocked off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for almost 10 days.

The four boys were brought out and taken to the hospital in the town of Chiang Rai, the provincial capital, for evaluation, and the next phase of the operation will resume after about 10-20 hours. Two divers were assigned to each child to help them navigate the dangerous, narrow passageways. The next phase could start Monday after rescue teams replenish the supply of oxygen tanks along the route to ensure the safety of the journey, which takes several hours. Officials said it could take two to four days complete the mission.

On Friday, the death of a former Thai navy SEAL underscored the risks. The diver, the first fatality of the rescue effort, was working in a volunteer capacity and died on a mission to place oxygen canisters along the route.

Chiang Rai acting Gov. Narongsak Osottanakorn said Saturday that mild weather and falling water levels in recent days had created the “perfect” conditions for an underwater evacuation. Those conditions won’t last if the rain resumes, he said.

Heavy rain started falling as soon as the four boys were removed from the cave. Narongsak said experts told him the new rain could shrink the unflooded space where the boys are sheltering to 108 square feet.

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