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Monday 16 July 2018

'Everyone is in high spirits' - health official says eight Thai boys 'happy and healthy' as rescue mission resumes

Rescue personnel walk in a cave at the Tham Luang cave complex during a mission to evacuate the remaining members of a soccer team trapped inside, in Chiang Rai, Thailand Photo: Twitter @elonmusk/via Reuters
Rescue personnel walk in a cave at the Tham Luang cave complex during a mission to evacuate the remaining members of a soccer team trapped inside, in Chiang Rai, Thailand Photo: Twitter @elonmusk/via Reuters
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

The eight boys rescued from a flooded cave in northern Thailand are in "high spirits", a senior health official has said, as rescuers prepared for a third push to rescue five still deep in the cave.

Jesada Chokdumrongsuk, deputy director-general of the Public Health Ministry, said the first four boys rescued, aged 12 to 16, are now able to eat normal food.

Two of them possibly have a lung infection but all eight are generally "healthy and smiling," he said.

"The kids are footballers so they have high immune systems," Mr Jesada said. "Everyone is in high spirits and are happy to get out. But we will have a psychiatrist to evaluate them."

Police and military personnel use umbrellas to shield a rescued boy beng transferred on a stretcher from a helicopter to an ambulance after he emerged from the Tham Luang cave. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Police and military personnel use umbrellas to shield a rescued boy beng transferred on a stretcher from a helicopter to an ambulance after he emerged from the Tham Luang cave. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

It could be at least seven days before they can be released from hospital, Mr Jesada told a news conference.

Family members have seen at least some of the boys from behind a glass isolation barrier, and Mr Jesada said doctors may let the boys walk around their beds on Tuesday.

Mr Jesada said they were uncertain what type of infections the boys could face "because we have never experienced this kind of issue from a deep cave."

The second group of four rescued on Monday are aged 12 to 14.

Classmates of the trapped boys at Mae Sai Prasitsart school, close to the caves, pray after their teacher announced that more of the footballers had been rescued. Photo: REUTERS
Classmates of the trapped boys at Mae Sai Prasitsart school, close to the caves, pray after their teacher announced that more of the footballers had been rescued. Photo: REUTERS

Four boys and their 25-year-old football coach remain deep in the cave, an ordeal that has lasted more than two weeks after they trapped inside by floods.

Four ambulances and a convoy of other vehicles arrived at the cave site on Tuesday morning as rains hit the region.

Officials heading the rescue operation had said they were preparing a third rescue mission.

Monday's rescue effort took about nine hours, two fewer than the day before, in a sign of growing confidence and expertise.

Each of the rescued boys has been guided through the dark winding cave by two pairs of divers.

Press Association

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