The operation to free 12 boys and their football coach from the Tham Luang Nang Non cave site in northern Thailand is underway.
Thirteen foreign divers and five Thai Navy SEALs entered the cave at 10:00am on Sunday as dark monsoon rainclouds loomed over the mountains.
The rescue operation could take two to four days, with the first boy unlikely to be brought out before 9:00pm.
The head of the rescue mission and Governor of Chiang Rai province, Narongsak Osottanakorn, said the trapped team members were “very ready” to come out of the cave.
Each of the boys will have two divers to help them navigate the muddy water, strong currents and oxygen-depleted air as they attempt to make their way out of the cave.
The children and coach must dive through dark, narrow passageways, sometimes no more than 60 centimetres wide.
Experienced cave rescue experts considered such a challenging underwater escape a last resort, especially for people untrained in diving, as the boys are.
The death of a former Thai Navy SEAL on Friday, who passed out from a lack of oxygen, further highlighted the dangers of this method of extraction but the weather has pushed rescuers to go ahead.
The Thai navy SEALs, who have spearheaded the rescue effort, posted a photo on their Facebook page with a vow to bring the trapped team home.
more at abc.net.au
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