Divers yesterday have managed to rescue four boys from the Thai soccer team that have been trapped underground by rising cave waters.
The first boy rescued exited the cave 5:40 p.m. local time, followed by three of his team members shortly after, Chiang Rai provincial acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn said in a Sunday night news conference. The boys traveled 0.62 miles underwater before they reached safety.
They were taken to the hospital — three by helicopter and one by ambulance — once they were out of the cave.
This is truly a heroic and miraculous rescue effort. The upper levels of the cave the boys are trapped within are likely to eventually fill with water before the rainy season ends in October. None have ever dived before, and this isn’t diving but cave diving, possibly the most dangerous sport anywhere on Earth. In fact, an Apollo astronaut on the Moon is doing something less dangerous.
That they have gotten four boys out so far is good news. We mustn’t count our chickens yet. Traveling two-thirds of a mile underwater in a cave, with likely zero visibility, is not trivial, even with two divers to guide the boy every step of the way. One rescue diver has already died in this effort. The remaining eight boys and soccer coach face a daunting challenge.
One more note: Elon Musk yesterday announced that he is sending some of his engineers to Thailand to help. Some reports indicated he was building a submersible, but I do not think those are right. This article describes how they are helping, and it mostly has to do with helping with the pumping and other ground issues related to Musk’s tunnel boring company.