Thailand: 9th Boy Rescued From Cave, 3 Boys And Their Coach Remain Trapped

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ABC NEWS)

 

The final push to bring home four boys and their soccer coach by a crew of international and Thai divers began in earnest on Tuesday. Eight boys have already been brought out of the cave after over two weeks in the darkness.

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The ninth boy was brought out of the cave at about 4 p.m. local time, according to the Thai navy SEALs.

Officials confirmed they had restarted the rescue effort for the third day at 10 a.m. local time, or 11 p.m. Eastern time the prior night. As with the previous rescue efforts, 19 divers have gone into the cave, with two divers escorting each of the boys out of the cave with tethers.

“If everything goes to plan, all will come out today,” an official said at a Tuesday midday press conference.

Rescuers walk toward the entrance to a cave complex where five were still trapped, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand Tuesday, July 10, 2018. The eight boys were rescued from the flooded cave. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)The Associated Press
Rescuers walk toward the entrance to a cave complex where five were still trapped, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand Tuesday, July 10, 2018. The eight boys were rescued from the flooded cave. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)more +

“We are ready to operate completely today,” Chiang Rai Province Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn said Tuesday. “The first time it took 11 hours to take care of the four boys. Yesterday it took nine hours to take out the boys. Today, I expect it to be faster or at least the same amount of time, if nothing unusual comes up, and the conditions are good.”

The rescue operation was expected to take about nine hours, though the Thai navy SEALs posted on their Facebook page “it will be longer than previous ones.” In addition to the coach and four boys, the doctor and three SEALs who have remained in the chamber with the boys will also emerge.

The four boys left in the cave range in age from 12 to 14, along with their 25-year-old soccer coach.

Eight boys were rescued in the first two days of the operation — four on each day.

Rescuers stand at a checkpoint near the entrance to a cave complex where five were still trapped, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand Tuesday, July 10, 2018. The eight boys were rescued from the flooded cave. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)The Associated Press
Rescuers stand at a checkpoint near the entrance to a cave complex where five were still trapped, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand Tuesday, July 10, 2018. The eight boys were rescued from the flooded cave. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)more +

“From the first day to the second day, we were faster by two hours,” Osatanakorn said. “And today we are better prepared. In the weather you can see that it’s raining today. Authorities who cover the mountain area and are pumping water insist that the water is still at a good level — close to the situation to the day before yesterday, and yesterday.”

Officials said all eight of the boys were healthy, though two of the four brought out Monday did have swollen lungs.

“They are good physically and mentally,” a health official said at a separate press conference from Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital.

According to a statement from the hospital, two of the boys already taken out of the cave are suffering from pneumonia.

Early tests indicate all of the boys could be suffering from lung infections, but only two of the first four boys were confirmed. They expected full blood test results in about 24 hours.

An ambulance believed to be carrying one of the rescued boys from the flooded cave heads to the hospital in Chiang Rai as divers evacuated some of the 12 boys and their coach trapped at Tham Luang cave, northern Thailand, Monday, July 9, 2018.AP
An ambulance believed to be carrying one of the rescued boys from the flooded cave heads to the hospital in Chiang Rai as divers evacuated some of the 12 boys and their coach trapped at Tham Luang cave, northern Thailand, Monday, July 9, 2018.more +

“The second four, we moved them yesterday from the cave, the age is from 12 to 14,” the commission commander of the medical department said Tuesday. “[They] were alert, and able to identify themselves. When they arrived at Chiang Rai hospital there was a primary medical examination conducted on all four of them. All four are healthy.”

The parents are able to see their kids through a glass window, but they are not allowed to make physical contact with them because docs are concern about infection.

The boys can all eat bland foods, but they can’t eat anything spicy. The boys are still requesting the Thai basil fried rice, but they’re not allowed to eat it yet.

The boys have been in the cave since June 23 when they were exploring the cave and unexpected rain flooded the tunnels. It was 10 days before the boys were miraculously located, and the remaining five have been in the cave for eight days.

Remembering The Lost Troops Of Operation Eagle Claw, The Failed Iranian Embassy Hostage Rescue Mission

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘TASK & PURPOSE’)

The wreckage of the downed EC-130 lost during Operation Eagle Claw in 1980.

HISTORY
Remembering The Lost Troops Of Operation Eagle Claw, The Failed Iranian Embassy Hostage Rescue Mission

on April 24, 2017

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In the early hours of April 25, 1980, President Jimmy Carter made a sober announcement to the nation: An attempt by U.S. military forces rescue the 52 staff held hostage at the American embassy in Tehran since the Iranian Revolution in 1979, had ended in a catastrophic failure without even engaging the enemy.

According to Carter, equipment failure aboard several of the eight RH-53D Sea Stallion helicopters launched from the USS Nimitz led the president to abort the mission. But during the strike forces’ withdrawal, one of the Sea Stallions collided with an EC-130. Five airmen and three Marines were killed in the ensuing explosion.

“There was no fighting; there was no combat,” said Carter. “We were all convinced that if and when the rescue operation had been commenced that it had an excellent chance of success … To the families of those who died and who were wounded, I want to express the admiration I feel for the courage of their loved ones and the sorrow that I feel personally for their sacrifice.”

The botched rescue operation is widely credited with costing Carter re-election in a crushing defeat to former California Gov. Ronald Reagan during the 1980 presidential election. (Mark Bowden, the journalist best known for the story that became “Black Hawk Down,” authored a remarkable timeline of the operation of Operation Eagle Claw in a 2006 issue of The Atlantic).

But as our friends at Soldier Systems point out, their sacrifice was not in vain. In fact, it led to the development of the modern special operations capability we know today.

In May 1980, the Joint Chiefs of Staff commissioned a Department of Defense’s Special Operations Review Group to evaluate the underlying causes of the botched rescue mission, examining every stage from planning and organization to mission command and control. Led by former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. James L. Holloway III, the so-called Holloway Report concluded that the “ad-hoc nature” of Eagle Claw’s organization and planning created too much room for error.

The eight U.S. armed forces servicemen killed during Operation Eagle Claw

“By not utilizing an existing JTF organization,” Holloway and his fellow senior military officers wrote, “the Joint Chiefs of Staff had to start, literally, from the beginning to establish a JTF, create an organization, provide a staff, develop a plan, select the united, and train the force between the first mission capability could be attained.”

Within a few years, the Holloway report catalyzed not only a sweeping reorganization of the Department of Defense but the creation of the United States Special Operations Command, a unified command apparatus to ensure that a lack of inter-service communication didn’t yield another unforced error for special operators downrange.

Despite the perception of Operation Eagle Claw as a failure, the sacrifices of those eight American servicemen were not in vain. The botched mission “pointed out the necessity for a dedicated special operations section within the Department of Defense with the responsibility to prepare and maintain combat-ready forces to successfully conduct special operations,” as airman Luke Kitterman wrote Monday.

Without that failed mission, we likely wouldn’t have elite units like Delta Force, Army Rangers, Navy SEALs on the front lines of the Global War on Terror. Those eight servicemen may have died without firing a shot, but without them, U.S. special operations wouldn’t be what it is today.

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Jared Keller is a senior editor at Task & Purpose and contributing editor at Pacific Standard. Follow Jared Keller on Twitter @JaredBKeller
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