A treacherous rescue bid to free a youth football team trapped in a flooded Thai cave entered its second day on Monday, with nine of the Wild Boars still inside after elite divers guided four out.
Looming rain was one of the main enemies of the operation, threatening to flood the cave complex in mountainous northern Thailand, although a bewildering array of other dangers could also doom their safe return.
Thailand has waited anxiously for news of the safe return of the boys and their 25-year-old coach since they became trapped in the Tham Luang cave complex on June 23, in a saga that has dominated global headlines.
They spent nine days unaccounted for inside the cave, before British divers found the emaciated and dishevelled group huddling on a muddy bank.
On Sunday four members of the Wild Boar team were successfully brought out from the cave, after authorities decided they had to rush ahead with a rescue operation to beat monsoon rains.
They were guided by expert divers who plotted the hours-long escape through more than 2.5 miles of twisting passageways and flooded chambers.
Rescue chief Narongsak Osottanakorn on Sunday said four of the team – affectionately dubbed by Thai social media Wild Boars 1,2,3,4 – were “safe” but released few details about their condition or identities.
He said the extraction effort would likely resume early on Monday.
“We’ve been working continuously overnight,” a Chiang Rai government source told AFP on Monday morning, requesting anonymity, and confirming that there had only been a pause of the actual extraction operations.
With authorities releasing few details of the rescue effort, parents continued their agonising wait to be reunited with their sons.
“I am still waiting here at the cave, keeping my fingers crossed to see whether my son will be one of those to come out today,” Akkarat Wongsukjan, a mother of Pheerapat – known by his nickname “Night” – told AFP.
“We heard four boys are out but we do not know who they are. Many parents are still here waiting. None of us has been informed of anything.”
But she added she was “happy” at the prospect of seeing her son again.
Meet the Wild Boars
Here’s the list of players and their coach who went missing:
- Ekarat Wongsukchan , 14 (nickname: Bew) – plays goalkeeper and promised his mother he would help at her shop after he was rescued
- Pipat Pho , 15 (Nick) – is not a member of the Wild Boars but joined their practice on June 23 to spend time with his friend Bew
- Pornchai Kamluang , 16 (Tee) – plays defence and told his parents not to worry in his letter home. “I’m very happy,” he wrote
- Panumas Sangdee , 13 (Mig) – another defender, and wrote to his parents that the Thai Navy Seals were taking good care of him
- Adul Sam-on , 14 – a midfielder, who spoke to the rescuer when they were first discovered. He is in a volleyball team that came second in a North Thailand-wide tournament
- Prajak Sutham , 15 (Note) – plays in midfield, although sometimes fills in in goal, and is described as a “smart, quiet guy” by his family
- Peerapat Sompiangjai , 17 (Night) – right winger. It was his birthday the boys were celebrating when they went missing and his parents have told him they are waiting to hold his party
- Sompong Jaiwong , 13 (Pong) – was seen in an England shirt but apparently dreams of playing for the Thai national team, according to his teacher
- Duganpet Promtep , 13 (Dom) – striker and captain of the Wild Boars, and has reportedly been invited for trials by several Thai professional clubs
- Chanin Vibulrungruang , 11 (Titan) – the team’s youngest player has been playing football since the age of seven
- Nattawut Takamrong , 14 (Tern) – told his parents not to worry about him
- Mongkol Booneiam , 13 (Mark) – is a trainee with the team and described by his teacher as a “very respectful and good child”
- Ekapol Chantawong (Ake), 25 – the a ssistant coach apologised in his letter to the parents for leading the boys into the cave , but they said they did not blame him
Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/07/09/thai-cave-rescue-enters-second-day-trapped-boys-wait-operation/