The Irrawaddy

Rescue operation to extract cave survivors has begun

Divers have begun an operation to try to extract the 13 survivors out of Tham Luang cave, chief of the rescue mission Narongsak Osotthanakorn announced at 10.30 am on Sunday.

“Today is D-Day,” he said, adding that 13 international cave divers and 5 Navy SEAL members have gone into the cave to bring out the survivors.

He said the rescue operation began at 10.00 am and the survivors will be brought out in what is known as a “buddy dive” in which each of the survivors will be escorted by two rescue divers.   He told a news briefing that the first survivor should be brought out by 9 pm tonight.

Narongsak said both the survivors and their families have already been informed of the rescue operation.  “The boys are both physically and mentally fit and they all agree with the rescue mission. They all said they are prepared to encounter whatever lies ahead,” he said.

He said the current weather and conditions in the cave are “most conducive” for the rescue operation.  “The monsoon rains are looming and the window of opportunity to save them is closing,” he said.