Developing: Thailand cave rescue underway, three boys freed; Update: Six? Or Four? Update: Six out now; Update: 10-hour pause for second phase; Update: Four out, officials say

Developing: Thailand cave rescue underway, three boys freed; Update: Six? Or Four? Update: Six out now; Update: 10-hour pause for second phase; Update: Four out, officials say

Three out, twelve to go. A rescue effort that has taken two weeks to plan has now been launched in Thailand to rescue a dozen boys and their soccer coach from the remote cave in which they’ve been trapped. The first two boys extracted have been taken to the hospital, and divers are continuing the rescue:


Rescuers in Thailand have retrieved the first of the 12 boys who have been trapped with their soccer coach in a cave for two weeks.


Two of the boys were extracted from the cave a couple of minutes apart, immediately placed into ambulances and rushed to a hospital, authorities told ABC News.


Authorities said at a press conference Sunday morning in Chiang Rai province that they made the decision to rescue the boys as oxygen drops and the threat of monsoon rains approaches. Due to the length of the journey out of the cave, officials said the first boy was expected to come out at 9 p.m. local time, which is 10 a.m. Sunday Eastern time. The officials said the operation could take two or three days.


At 10 a.m. local time, 13 foreign divers and five Thai SEALs entered the cave to begin the operation. Two divers will escort each of the kids out of the cave.



As ABC notes, this is a dangerous mission for all involved. A Thai navy SEAL lost his life earlier this week attempting to help set up the rescue effort. The boys and the coach not only don’t know how to dive, but many of them also don’t know how to swim. Thailand rescue workers have been trying to lower water levels by diverting the sources, and they have also worked with jackhammers to reshape the tunnels, but they’re running out of time. With heavy rains coming and oxygen running low, waiting it out is no longer possible.


So far, though, it seems to be succeeding. CNN updated the count to three boys shortly after ABC’s updated report:


The rescue appears to be moving faster than anticipated. It started last night and was expected to take days, but perhaps the process is quicker than first thought. We can all hope and pray that success builds on success in this rescue, and that both the rescuees and their rescuers all come through this safely. We’ll update as the story develops.


Update: Fox reports that six are now considered “safe,” although they’re not quite sure exactly what that means. The tweet makes it sound like they’re all the way out, but that’s not exactly what the panel on Fox & Friends is saying:


“Safe” is still an improvement, but let’s hope this means “out.”


Update: The Associated Press reports four are out:


Bear in mind that these are fast-moving events and that news agencies will have a tough time keeping up with the details. The total rescue count at any one time is less important than seeing the casualty count remain at zero.


Update: NBC News explains the confusion:


Update: Now the count of boys brought out of the cave has reached six, according to rescue workers:


That’s almost halfway done.


Update: So far, so good, say Thai rescue workers:


Update: The first phase of the extraction has finished. There will now be a significant pause for the second phase:


Divers can only stay under for so long, and tanks will need to get refilled at some point. One has to think that, with the weather and oxygen pressures, the pause will last closer to ten hours than twenty.


Update: Thai officials now say that only four boys have been extracted:


As I wrote earlier, bear in mind that fast-moving stories sometimes cause crossed wires.