Thai cave boys: Rescue tally reaches eight
Twelve youths in total – ranging between the ages of 11 to 16 – had been trapped for over two weeks along with their coach – the soccer academy players having found themselves stuck after a sudden downpour prevented them from exiting the caves.
Rescue efforts bore fruit on Sunday as four of the children were pulled from the ordeal, while an additional four were added to the rescue tally on Monday. The latest batch of survivors were rushed to Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital around 8pm local time, with the mission having begun at 11am.
The news that Monday’s rescue took two fewer hours to complete than Sunday’s efforts led Narongsak to insist that Tuesday’s mission will be even faster, with the hopes that the last four of the children will be brought to safety. He claimed that the final operation will see rescuers use the same plan with minor adjustments to include a fifth person, with the support network of over 100 people from different countries helping to ensure their safe extraction.
It is said that officials will have to spend around 20 hours planning and preparing the necessary equipment, with Narongsak hopeful that the last descent into the caves will take between four to five hours.
The former Chiang Rai governor stated that the last five survivors in the cave are in good health, though added that those in the hospital are still having to adjust to eating solid foods. News of the boys’ plight has reached all over the world, with FIFA chief Gianni Infantino having pledged to invite the Wild Boar Academy to the World Cup final if they are deemed well enough to make the trip.
“On behalf of the international football community, I would like to join you in expressing my deepest sympathies and support to the families of the players and coach, as well as my solidarity with the people of Thailand at this time of great concern,” Infantino wrote in a FIFA statement.
“I hope that in some way our words of support may help bring them a little peace and courage in these difficult moments of uncertainty and concern. If, as we all hope, they are reunited with their families in the coming days and their health allows them to travel, FIFA would be delighted to invite them to attend the 2018 World Cup final in Moscow as our guests.”
The Thailand FA has responded to Infantino, thanking him for his offer but saying the condition of the boys must be taken into consideration before any decision is made.
“FA Thailand appreciates Mr. Gianni Infantino’s goodwill for supporting 13 trapped young footballers by inviting them as FIFA’s guests in World Cup 2018 Final,” the organization wrote in a Facebook post.
“The FA still keep our eyes on their situation closely. However, any action regarding Mr. Infantino’s invites needs to consider many factors, such as appropriateness as situation unfolds, invitee’s intention, doctor’s opinion, parents opinion, traveling and all the things – the same way with any activity that needs member associations to coordinate.
“FA Thailand believes that their health condition, both physical and mental, needs to be the top priority.”
And now Thongchai Lertwilairattanapong, a doctor representing the Ministry of Public Health, has suggested that a trip to Russia will not be possible. He told reporters: “They’re obviously in the quarantine phase, which takes time. But we will manage to get them a TV for that [watching the World Cup final].”