Will Elon Musk’s ‘kid submarine’ be used in Thai rescue?

Heather Diaz
July 10, 2018

Four boys were successfully rescued from the Tham Laung cave area on Sunday in a delicate and lengthy operation.

Officials said late Sunday they'd need to pause the operation for at least 10 hours to fill oxygen tanks that had been depleted during the first phase of the rescue mission.

"All four boys have arrived at hospital, all are safe", Narongsak Osottanakorn, head of the rescue mission, told reporters of those rescued on Monday.

The rescue started at 10 am Thai time and involved 13 worldwide divers and five Thai navy seals, who were described by Governor Narongsak as "an all-star team", reports the Daily Mail.

The toughest part of the route is a section at nearly halfway called "T-Junction", which due to its narrowness causes divers to remove their air tanks to fit through. So far, divers have rescued four additional boys, which leaves four more and their soccer coach to go.

Officials last week said they would bring the fittest people in the group out first, but Narongsak later said that whoever was ready first would be escorted out.

Narongsak said that there was no time limit on the rescue and that its progress would depend on weather and conditions inside the cave, but expected it to last through Monday.

Although weak, they are largely in good health, authorities have said.

Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda had said early Monday that the same group of expert divers who took part in Sunday's rescue would return to extricate the others because they know the cave conditions and what to do. In some places, the boys had to be carried under flooded areas, some only as narrow as 0.6 meter wide.

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The 12 boys - members of a Thai youth soccer team and aged between 11 and 16 - and their coach were trapped in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system June 23 following heavy rains; however, they were found alive a week later by divers.

"The four children are well at Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital".

The first four rescued boys have been placed in a ward set aside specifically for the cave rescue, a source at the hospital said. It rained overnight as well.

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The eight boys who were rescued through Monday had to travel about two and a half miles with oxygen tanks and were accompanied by two professional divers each. After Monday's rescue effort, four boys and their coach were still inside the labyrinth cave.

The soccer team had been trapped in the underground cave network since June 23, with flash floods causing water levels to rise, making it hard to get out. On Friday, a former navy SEAL who suited up again to volunteer died on a dive to resupply the oxygen needed for the long and arduous dive.

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The names of the rescued boys were not released.

The team had to pause rescue efforts as weather conditions worsened and made the narrow cave system more hard to navigate.

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