Rescuers gear up for final push to save remaining five from Thai cave

The head of the operation, Narongsak Osottanakorn, said rescuers had learned from experience and were two hours faster in bringing the second batch of survivors out

THAILAND: Rescuers resumed preparations on Tuesday for a third rescue operation deep into a cave complex in northern Thailand to free four remaining boys and their soccer coach in a race against time and monsoon weather.

Four more of the boys were carried on stretchers out of the labyrinthine Tham Luang cave on the Myanmar border on Monday, bringing to eight the total number brought out so far after two rescue pushes in successive days.

The head of the operation, Narongsak Osottanakorn, said rescuers had learned from experience and were two hours faster in bringing the second batch of survivors out as scattered monsoon rains continued to risk flooding the tunnels with water.

A crack team of foreign divers and Thai Navy SEALs guided the boys during a nine-hour operation through nearly 4 km (2.5 miles) of sometimes submerged channels from where they have been trapped for more than a fortnight.

People across Thailand cheered the rescue operation, including at the Mae Sai Prasitsart school where six of the trapped boys are students.

"I am very happy about those who already made it out and I think everyone will be out today," said Waranchit Karnkaew, 14, who also said the football-mad boys had been closely following games at the World Cup in Russia before they were trapped.

"I want to take my friends to lunch and we will play football together," he told Reuters.

Soccer's governing body, FIFA, has invited the boys to the World Cup final in Moscow on Sunday if they make it out in time.

 

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