Rescue operation to free boys stuck in Thailand cave 'could take days'

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2 boys emerge from Thailand cave (KTRK)

The first four boys have been rescued from the cave in Thailand. The boys are now being treated by medics on the scene.

A Thai governor says the operation to bring out 12 schoolboys and their soccer coach from deep inside a cave where they have been trapped for two weeks started Saturday night.

The acting Chiang Rai governor has told reporters "today is D-Day" with 13 foreigner and five Thai divers taking part in the rescue.

He says the divers went in at 10 a.m. and the boys will gradually come out accompanied by two divers each. He says the earliest they will come out is 9 p.m. Saturday.

The only way to bring them out is by navigating dark and tight passageways filled with muddy water and strong currents, as well as oxygen-depleted air.

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Photos from social media show the 13 members of a Thai youth soccer team, 12 players and one coach, all of whom have been trapped in a partially flooded cave in northern Thailand for weeks.

Experienced cave rescue experts consider an underwater escape a last resort, especially with people untrained in diving, as the boys are. The path out is considered especially complicated because of twists and turns in narrow flooded passages.

But the governor supervising the mission said earlier that mild weather and falling water levels over the last few days had created optimal conditions for an underwater evacuation that won't last if it rains again.
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