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Final five trapped in Thai cave to be extracted Tuesday: rescue chief

10 July 2018 - 27   - 0

Rescuers will on Tuesday extract the remaining five young footballers who have been trapped deep inside a flooded Thai cave for 18 days, the mission chief said, as heavy rains threatened their perilous escape route.

The hoped-for final chapter in an ordeal that has gripped the world comes after elite foreign divers and Thai Navy SEALs escorted eight members of the "Wild Boars" football team out of the claustrophobic network of tunnels on Sunday and Monday.

The boys, aged from 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach, ventured into the Tham Luang cave on June 23 after football practice and got caught deep inside when heavy rains caused flooding that trapped them on a muddy ledge.

With rain again pounding the cave site in a mountainous region in northern Thailand on Tuesday morning, rescuers said they were aiming to bring out the remaining four boys and their coach by the evening.

"(They) will be extracted today," rescue chief Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters, adding the journey out should be faster than on previous days.

The emergence of the second batch of four boys on Monday evening was greeted with a simple "Hooyah" by the SEAL team on their Facebook page, an exclamation that lit up Thai social media, while positive medical reports on the rescued group further fuelled the sense of joy.

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