Four ambulances leave site of Thai cave
Mae Sai (Thailand), Jul 9 (AP) A total of four ambulances have left the area around the flooded cave in northern Thailand where members of a youth soccer team have been trapped for more than two weeks, suggesting eight of the 13 trapped people have now been extracted.
Thai officials have been tight-lipped about the rescue operation, and would not comment on how many people were removed today.
Yesterday, teams of divers brought out four of the trapped boys but waited several hours before confirming their safe rescue.
Multiple calls to senior government officials and military personnel leading the operation to rescue the members of the youth soccer team rang unanswered this evening.
Yesterday, officials waited until several hours after the rescued boys had been transported to hospitals to announce their rescue.
As of this morning, eight boys and their coach remained in the cave where they have been trapped by floods since June 23.
Thai public television has aired live video of a medivac helicopter landing close to a hospital in the city of Chiang Rai, near the site of the cave where a youth soccer team has been trapped for more than two weeks.
Medics appeared to remove one person on a stretcher but hid the person's identity behind multiple white umbrellas. An ambulance was seen leaving the scene immediately afterward early Monday evening.
Less than an hour earlier, an ambulance with flashing lights had left the cave complex, hours after the start of the second phase of an operation to rescue the soccer team.
As of this morning, nine people remained trapped in the cave, including the 12-member team's coach, after four boys were rescued on Sunday, the first day of the rescue operation.
An ambulance with flashing lights has left a cave complex in northern Thailand hours after the start of the second phase of an operation to rescue a youth soccer team trapped inside the flooded cave for more than two weeks.
After the ambulance was seen leaving the complex at around 5 p.m. Monday, a helicopter took off. Authorities have said helicopters were ready to take cave evacuees to a hospital. It was unclear who was inside the ambulance or the helicopter.
Chiang Rai acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn, who is heading the rescue, had said the second phase began at 11 a.m. Monday and authorities "hope to hear good news in the next few hours." Nine people remained trapped in the cave, including the team's coach, after four boys were rescued on Sunday, the first day of the rescue operation.
Thai authorities say they have resumedoperations to rescue members of a boys' soccer team trapped in a floodedcave after successfully getting four of the boys out Sunday.
They said the four boys already rescued are hungry but in good health in a hospital.
The second operation started at 11 a.m. local time Monday. It takes several hours.
Officials said at a news conference that the parents of the rescued boys, whose names have not been released, have not yet been allowed to have physical contact with them, pending more extensive examination of their physical condition.
Eight boys are still inside the cave and along with the team coach. The operation to get them out was supposed to resume only after new oxygen tanks could be placed along their route of escape, which is partially underwater.
Australia's foreign minister says 19 Australian personnel are involved in the Thailand cave rescue operation including a doctor who's played an essential part in assessing which boys can leave and in what order.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told reporters in Australia that anesthetist and experienced cave diver Richard Harris is working with the Thai medical team inside the cave "to make the decisions about the order in which the boys were to be extracted."
Expert divers Sunday rescued four of 12 boys from a flooded cave in northern Thailand where they were trapped with their soccer coach for more than two weeks. Crews will have to replenish air tanks along the route before rescuing the others