Thailand soccer team

Four boys have been rescued during the international Thailand cave rescue operation that has captivated the world. The 12 soccer team members and their coach have been trapped in the flooded cave deep below the Doi Nang Non mountain range in northern Thailand since June 23.

The boys, ranging in age from 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach were exploring Tham Luang cave in Khun Nam Nang National Park as part of an initiation ritual after soccer practice. The boys ran about 2 miles into the cave and scrawled their names on a wall.

But torrential rain from a monsoon quickly flooded the entrance to the cave, blocking their escape and forcing them deeper into the cave in search of higher ground.

The boys’ bicycles were spotted by a park employee after the park closed for the evening on June 23. The employee alerted the authorities who launched a massive search for the missing group.

On Monday, July 2nd, two British cave divers found the boys and their coach alive after 9 days. The boys were in good condition but their coach was weak because he refused to eat a ration of snacks and bottled water that some of the boys had brought with them.

A Thai Navy SEAL team, including a nurse and doctor, stayed with the boys in the cave for a week. The boys were fed a nutritious liquid diet and the dive team gave them a crash course in diving with full face masks and wet suits.

An international dive team that consists of 5 Thai Navy SEAL divers and 13 expert divers from other countries entered the cave early Sunday local time and extracted 4 of the weakest boys.

The journey from the small chamber to the mouth of the cave took just under 3 hours. 90 divers in total are involved in the international rescue operation.

2 divers accompanied each boy through the dark network of flooded caverns and tunnels. The most challenging part of the journey occurs about halfway through the cave when the passage narrows to just 15 inches across — equivalent to 3 Mars candy bars placed end to end.

The rescued children were examined by navy doctors at the entrance to the cave, then transported to a Chiang Rai hospital in ambulances.

Thailand soccer team

The rescue operation has ended for the day due to low oxygen levels and high Co2 levels inside the cave. Fresh air is being pumped into the cave and oxygen tanks were installed inside the chamber and along the route to provide air to the other boys and their coach.

Officials say every oxygen tank installed along the route was used up and will need to be replaced. It will take 8-10 hours to replace the tanks.

The parents have all forgiven the coach, who starved himself so the boys could have his food rations.

An earlier plan to leave the group in the cave for 4 months was abandoned after oxygen levels in the cave dropped and a former Navy SEAl died from lack of oxygen in the cave. Major Samam Gunan, a former Royal Thai Navy SEAL diver, died while delivering oxygen tanks to the boys.

The rescue operation will resume at 8 a.m. on Monday local time (about 9 p.m. Sunday EST).