Fifth and sixth boys believed to have been rescued by divers from Thai cave
Over the last couple of hours, reports have emerged that two more boys have been rescued from a cave in northern Thailand, bringing the total number of rescued students up to six.
Sources present at the scene have said that the fifth boy was brought up just before 5pm local time today - around the same time an ambulance and helicopter were spotted in the area. Around an hour later, the sixth child was rescued and taken immediately to hospital.
Narongsak Osatanakorn, the head of the joint command centre coordinating the operation, said that the identities of those who have been freed could not be disclosed due to "doctor-patient confidentiality," and that rescuers were selecting boys to be brought out depending on who was "most ready".
So far, he says, "the operation [has been] more successful than we expected."
The 12 boys and their football coach originally went missing on June 23rd and were feared to be dead after heavy rains flooded the caves they were diving in, but they were miraculously discovered alive last week by divers. Since then, the strenuous rescue effort has been going on, but - due to the high water levels and lack of space to navigate through the cave - it could be quite some time more until all those who are trapped can come back up to the surface.
Of the 90 people who are helping rescue the boys, one has sadly already died. Saman Gunan, a former Thai naval officer, passed away while returning from a mission to deliver oxygen to the trapped teens.
The boys' coach, Ekapol Chantawong, has been praised for how he has dealt with the situation, and apparently did all he could to keep up morale before they were found.
The rescue mission is ongoing.