Former navy diver dies during Thailand cave rescue effort

However, there has been no official word on this so far.

The 12 boys trapped in a cave in Thailand may have no choice but to make the risky dive that's already claimed the life of a former navy seal.

The soccer team's ordeal has drawn huge media attention in Thailand and overseas, as monsoon conditions worsened amid a frantic search to find the trapped youngsters.

The first two schoolboys have emerged from a flooded Thai cave after divers launched a daring and unsafe mission to rescue the children and their soccer coach, who have been trapped underground for more than two weeks, a Thai official said.

Rescuing them all could take two to four days and depended on the weather, an army commander involved in the mission said.


"I confirm that we are at war with water and time from the first day up to today", Chiang Rai Acting Governor Narongsak Osatanakorn said Saturday.

The group of 12 boys has been trapped inside a cave in northern Thailand for two weeks. Thirty-five emergency doctors were on standby as the "exhausted" boys were flown by military helicopter or driven in ambulances to Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital. Two more to follow close behind.

The process is extremely risky, but officials say waters right now are at their optimal level inside the cave after a few days of better weather - and they're anxious about the potential for more rains to fill the flooded caves even further.

Officials are unsure how long the operation to rescue the boys, between the ages of 11 and 16, along with their 25-year-old coach, will take to complete.

He said the first boys could emerge from the cave at around 2pm Irish time.


"We have two obstacles: water and time".

Rescuers have begun an operation to bring the 12 trapped children and their football coach out of the Tham Luang caves.

An Australian doctor who is part of the worldwide team of rescuers checked the health of the boys Saturday to decide who should be brought to the surface first. The initial euphoria of finding the boys alive tuned into deep anxiety as rescuers raced to find a way to get them out. Osottanakorn said they will resume in 10 to 20 hours because "we've used all the oxygen". Those conditions won't last if the rain resumes, he said.

After pumping out water for days, experts say the window to rescue the boys is closing and it is now or never. He said the operation started at 10 a.m. local time, that it would take about 11 hours to remove the first boy from the cave and that two divers would accompany each boy. They gave a deadline of 9:00 am to clear out, setting off a frenzy of moving and packing.

U.S. President Donald Trump said the United States was working "very closely" with the Thai government to free the boys."Very courageous and talented people!" he tweeted.


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