day is D-day for 12 high school boys and their soccer coach trapped inside a flooded cave. So said the head of the rescue mission on Sunday, as he announced that 13 foreign divers and five members of Thailand's elite Navy Seals Unit had started a mission to try and bring the boys through narrow submerged passageways.
It's a dangerous journey that claimed the life of a former Thai Navy diver on Friday, especially as some of the boys are as young as 11 and weak swimmers. Reuter's Panu Wongcha-um is at the cave complex in the Northern Thai province of Chiang Rai.>> We've been told that this operation could take up to three to four days, and we were told that they will gradually bring the boys out one by one, with two divers per one of the trapped boys.
What we know also is that the authorities say they are racing against time, and this is the perfect opportunity as the rain is about to arrive. And if they don't act now, they may have to reassess and the rescue operation may have to be delayed for a long time.
>> An Australian doctor gave the mission the all-clear after checking the health of the boys on Sunday night. Roads leading to a Thai hospital have been cordoned off and helicopters are on standby. The days generators have been pumping water out of the cave complex.>> We have been also told is that the water draining and pumping operation, which has been ongoing for over the past two weeks, have been relatively successful.
And that certain parts of the cave that were flooded has been dried. And we were told by the Thai authority that this is the driest that they have been since the boys were trapped. Meanwhile, other options for extracting the boys are being explored. Rescuers have drilled holes above the cave complex in a bit to find other routes.
And billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk says a team from his rocket company SpaceX is building a mini submarine to help with the rescue. But if all goes well, the first of the boys could emerge later on Sunday.