Four boys, from a stranded group of 13, have made it out of a series of Thai caves safely, and they’ve been pictured back in the outside world.
The group of boys became trapped in the caves when they ventured out to explore them two weeks ago. Heavy rain then flooded the caves, and the boys were unable to escape.
An intense rescue mission began, with one diver even losing his life in an attempt to free the boys.
Only yesterday, July 8, did the boys start to emerge from the caves, with four making it out safely before the rescue had to be postponed in order to replenish oxygen supplies – as well as to give the rescuers a break.
According to reports, the four boys were a combination of the weakest and strongest of the group.
They were guided out of the cave by divers through complete darkness, making their way over a rocky peak before descending back down into the dangerous waters.
Some of the boys have never swam before, and yet succeeded in escaping through the miles of tunnels wearing full-face masks.
WATCH: BBC footage of ambulance leaving cave site amidst reports first boys from trapped football team have been rescued #thamluangcave #thamluang #ถ้ำหลวง #13ชีวิตติดถ้ำ #13ชีวิตรอดแล้ว #พาหมูป่ากลับบ้าน #ThailandCaveRescue pic.twitter.com/qu441ZuiJH
— Howard Johnson (@Howardrjohnson) July 8, 2018
The boys who’ve escaped so far are; Monhkhol Boonpiam, Prajak Sutham, Nattawoot Thakamsai, and Pipat Bodhu.
The boys were examined immediately after exiting the cave by a doctor stationed at the scene, who then determined whether they were well enough to endure the 35 mile helicopter ride to hospital, CNN report.
The four members of the group were pictured being carried on stretchers to the helicopter, which then took them to hospital:
Although these four boys have made it out safely, their ordeal may not entirely be over.
Dr Andrea Dese, head of the stress and development lab at Kings College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, spoke to the Daily Mail about the possibilities of the boys having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
In the longer term, most children will recover from the initial emotional symptoms.
A sizeable minority, 10 to 30 per cent, will however experience enduring mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety disorders and PTSD.
The boys who remain in the caves will hopefully be rescued today (July 9).
The Guardian reports the rescue mission is again underway, with the same divers who went in on Sunday going in today. There are no reports on their progress yet, at the time of writing.
The head of the rescue operation, Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn, has said around 90 divers in total would take part in the rescue mission.
The rescuers are facing a race against time, as if heavy rain occurs, the cave could flood further, making the rescue of the boys even more difficult.
Governor Osatanakorn addressed the media out in Thailand, saying:
We’re trying to pump water out, but more and more is coming in from above and below. Our biggest concern is now the weather.
A heavy downpour comes down into the caves like a tsunami. The children are learning how to dive. We’d like minimum risk, but we can’t wait until it rains heavily and worsens the situation.
If that happens, we’ll need to reassess. The key thing is the kids’ readiness to dive. If it rains, and the situation is not good, we will try to bring the boys out.
Our thoughts are with the boys and the rescuers.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.