CHIANG RAI: The four boys who were rescued from the flooded Tham Luang cave complex on Sunday are doing well, said rescue operation chief Narongsak Osottanakorn.
“All the four boys are well. They said they were hungry this morning and asked for spicy pork with basil,” he told reporters on Monday (Jul 9) at the Pong Pha sub-district administration office opposite the caves.
The evacuation at the Tham Luang cave complex in northern Thailand to retrieve the trapped schoolboys and their Wild Boar Academy football coach resumed at 11 am local time on Monday, he said.
They have been trapped underground for more than two weeks.
“Still we can’t allow any visit just yet to prevent possible infection. The medical team is considering letting parents see them through glass windows instead.”
Despite the successful evacuation on Sunday, the public is now concerned over last night’s downpour in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district – the heart of the challenging rescue operation that has gripped the world.
However, authorities confirmed the heavy rain has not hampered their plan to bring the remaining nine survivors out of the caves.
RAINWATER REMAINS 'MANAGEABLE'
Rescuers will continue to press on with their operation as the rainwater remains “manageable”, according to Jongklai Worapongsathorn, deputy director-general of the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department.
While several activities take place underground, a number of officials carry on with their exploration of the area above the caves, as they hope to find a shaft that leads down to the remaining nine.
So far, all the openings they have detected have dead-ends.
Following the Sunday operation, divers were given a rest, Narongsak said. All the empty air tanks along the rescue route have been replaced, he added, and the ropes they used for navigation has been readjusted to their original positions.
“Today, water levels inside the caves are satisfactory and all the equipment is ready. That’s why we decided to resume the evacuation 4-5 hours earlier than planned,” he told reporters.
“All the conditions are as good as they were yesterday – air, water and the survivors’ strength. We’re ready and will speed up the rescue process because we’re worried about the rains.”
The team of divers deployed on Monday is almost the same as the previous one, with only certain members replaced due to exhaustion, according to Narongsak, who later mentioned some additional divers involved.
“Let’s give them support. We hope to hear good news in the next few hours.”
Meanwhile, the mission chief also instructed the media to cooperate with authorities to ensure a smooth rescue operation.
He revealed certain journalists had managed to detect the radio frequency used among rescue officers on Sunday and extracted their information for “inaccurate reporting”, causing confusion among the media and public. The matter is currently under investigation by Thai police.
Some media outlets also employed unmanned aerial vehicles for their coverage of the rescue, the mission chief added, saying the practice could have disrupted the procedures, including helicopters’ flights to airlift survivors.
“This practice is illegal. It’s inappropriate,” he said. “Please cooperate.”