If you’re the type to watch cable news, read Twitter, or follow involuntarily push notifications on your mobile device, you’ve heard the terrifying tale of the 12 boys, aged 13-16, who have been trapped in the Tham Luang cave complex in the mountainous, far northern Chiang Rai province of Thailand since June 23rd. As of Sunday night and Monday morning, however, they’re coming out!
The abridged: The boys entered the cave with their soccer coach Ekkapol Chantawong when a flash flood filled the previously dry 2.5 mile passageway with muddy water and a strong current, limiting visibility. Most of the boys can’t swim—which is very common in Thailand—and that has made their rescue especially challenging. A former Navy diver died on Friday in attempt to save the boys, the New York Times reported.
According to the Times, four boys were rescued over the course of an eight-hour operation. A team of 10 divers practiced the extraction for days, leading to the complicated and lengthy rescue: A voyage through the cave takes about six hours, with some portions so narrow they require divers to remove their air tanks. By Monday morning around 9:30 a.m. EST, four more were removed safely from the cave, bringing the confirmed total to eight rescued boys.
Over the weekend, divers sent handwritten notes from the trapped children to their families; 15-year-old Pipat “Nick” Poti wrote the very relatable: “Mom, Dad, I love you guys, and little sister Toi. If I get out please take me to a pork barbecue place. I love you Dad, Mom.”
On Saturday, less than 24-hours before the successful rescue mission began, Tesla and Space X CEO Elon Musk, who loves nothing more than to offer up impossible solutions to issues well outside his knowledge base, announced that he was building a tiny “submarine” to save the boys “using the liquid oxygen transfer tube of [a SpaceX] Falcon rocket as hull.” Thanks, Elon (via Gizmodo):
Four boys remain inside the cave with their coach, Ekkapol Chantawong. The Guardian reports that the rescue mission has now been placed on hold until tomorrow.
We will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.