Rescue team reach trapped Thai boys but getting them out remains a challenge

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A rescue team finally reached the 13 Thai boys who had been trapped in a cave for 11 days on Tuesday. A video released by media outlets shows that all the boys are alive and in good condition.

Reuters reports that rescue teams in northern Thailand were giving crash courses in swimming and diving on Wednesday as part of preparations to extract the boys as they are keen to end a harrowing 11-day ordeal.

A team of divers, medics, counselors and Thai navy SEALS were with the 12 schoolboys and their 25-year-old coach, providing medicines and food while experts assessed conditions for getting them out, a task the government said would not be easy.

“The water is very strong and space is narrow. Extracting the children takes a lot of people,” Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan told reporters.

“Now we are teaching the children to swim and dive,” he said adding that if water levels fell and the flow weakened, they would be taken out quickly.

A video released by the SEALS on Wednesday showed two rescuers in wetsuits sitting on a elevated part of the cave beside the boys wrapped in emergency foil blankets. They appeared to be in good spirits, occasionally laughing. It was not immediately clear when the footage was taken.

News that the “Wild Boar” team had survived sparked celebrations and relief in a country transfixed by the drama, with almost blanket media coverage.

The rescue teams and volunteers were hailed as heroes in an outpouring of joy and relief on social media, and applauded by the country’s prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha.

Efforts to open a communications line between the trapped team located 4 km (2.5 miles) from the mouth of the cave suffered a setback after equipment fell into the water, Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn said on Wednesday.

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