Thai Cave Rescue: Governor Reveals How 4 Boys Were Saved

Ninety people were part of the operation.

Four of the 12 boys who were trapped in a flooded cave in Chiang Rai have been rescued in a daring mission involving Thailand’s Navy SEAL unit. On Sunday, Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn shared how this mission was developed, executed, and how the government intends to reach the other boys still trapped.

On June 23, the group of 12 boys between the ages of 11 and 16 and their soccer coach found themselves stuck in a Tham Luang Nang Non cave while on a trip. The group was missing for nine days until their location was discovered on July 2. The catastrophe has garnered international support, with foreign governments and even Elon Musk sending engineers to assist the rescue mission.

Watch divers test Elon Musk’s submarine for the Thai cave rescue mission.

Thai rescue crew during preparations on Friday

Sakchai Lalit/AP

According to Osotthanakorn, 13 foreign divers and 5 members of Thailand’s Navy SEAL unit guided the four boys through a narrow, underwater passageway, the same route that had claimed the life of a Thai Navy diver on Friday. The team was unable to recover the coach and the remaining eight boys due to elevated risks after nightfall.

“The operation today went quicker than when we rehearsed, 10 minutes quicker,” Osotthanakorn stated at the press conference. While only 18 divers entered the passageway to extract the children, Osotthanakorn described a staff of over 90 people as part of the operation. CNN reports that 50 divers are foreign aids, while 40 divers are from Thailand.

To extract the boys, divers brought them full-face masks to wear while rescue divers carried them out through the complex system of cave passageways. As the boys are too weak to swim, the divers had to often carry the children while navigating the cave waterways.

The government has yet to release the names of the rescued boys but confirms they are being treated at Prachanukroh Hospital.

While this operation went smoothly, Osotthanakorn warned that Thailand’s rescue team would need to make sure all conditions were stable before launching the next phase of evacuations. The next strategy meeting for rescue workers is scheduled for Sunday night.

“Today we managed to rescue and send back four children to Chiang Rai Prachanukrua Hospital safely,” Osottanakorn said. While this is a massive success on the part of the rescue team, the governor reminded the press that there is more to be done.