Reports have emerged that four members of the Wild Boar soccer team in Thailand have been retrieved from the Tham Luang cave system. With torrential rains starting, however, rescue efforts are now on pause as rescuers take a much-needed rest to recover before attempting another round of rescues. Eight children and their 25-year-old coach are still inside the caves.
The Wild Boar soccer team, comprised of 12 boys aged 11-16, as well as their 25-year-old coach, entered the Tham Luang cave system back on June 23. The caves were a local attraction, one that the boys are familiar with. On that day, however, rains brought about floods inside the caves, forcing the group of 13 to seek shelter deeper and deeper into Tham Luang’s caverns. By the time the group was located by British divers this past Monday, they were already miles away from the cave’s entrance.
Considering that several sections of the caves were flooded, rescuing the children and their coach became a problem. For one, the only way the group was reached was through experienced divers who spent hours navigating through murky waters. Unfortunately, some of the children do not even know how to swim, making their retrieval by scuba diving a risky affair. Other options were explored, such as pumping water out of the caves and digging a hole to give the children a way out, but on Sunday at 10:00 local time — with the weather being favorable and with the water levels as low as they could get — rescuers went to work, according to a New York Times report.
Fortunately, the rescue operations moved forward much faster than expected. By 17:40 local time, the first member of the Wild Boar soccer team exited the cave. By 21:00 local time, a total of four children have been rescued. Each member of the soccer team was placed on stretchers and rushed to the hospital. All are in good health, according to a BBC report. With oxygen running low in the caves, however, the rescue operations were paused.
As of writing, eight children and their coach are still waiting to be rescued.
The plight of the Wild Boar Soccer Team has captured the attention of the world, with the children and their coach being lauded for their tenacity to weather their circumstances as they waited to be rescued. Over the past week, even noted tech industrialists such as Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk offered to help in the rescue operations. Last Friday, Musk flew in a team of engineers from SpaceX and The Boring Company, his tunneling startup, to provide any assistance to the rescue efforts.