Hereâs our latest report on the rescue operation:
Divers have entered a northern Thailand cave to retrieve the last four members of a football team and their coach on what rescuers hope will be the final day of the mission to free them.
The operation began at 10.08am local time on Tuesday as the first eight boys, freed in operations on Sunday and Monday, recuperated at a hospital in the nearest city, Chiang Rai.
Torrential rain struck the cave site on Monday evening and the downpour continued through Tuesday morning, but authorities said preparations for the final rescue mission were unaffected.
âYou have seen the rain so you might be wondering â preparation for the third operation has been under way since early morning,â said , the head of the joint command centre coordinating the operation.Thailand cave rescue: how are the boys getting out?Read more
âIf everything goes right, we will see four kids and a doctor and three Seals that have stayed with the kids will all come out,â he said. âFour plus one coach, so itâs five.â
Even after completing the dark, treacherous journey from the depths of Tham Luang cave to safety, the rescued members of the Wild Boars football squad face additional barriers to resuming their normal lives.
Before the boys can enjoy a warm embrace with their relatives, doctors must be confident they will not make anyone ill.
Thongchai Lertwilairattanapong, a Thai health department official, told the news site Kom Chad Luek there would be âno hugging or touchingâ until blood tests proved the boys were free of infections. He named leptospirosis and meliodosis â bacterial infections that can be transmitted through soil or water â as possible risks.
Hugh Montgomery, a professor of intensive care medicine at University College London, said caves presented a risk of tick-borne relapsing fever as well as histoplasmosis, a fungal lung infection commonly known as âcave diseaseâ.
The policy of separation between the boys and their loved ones marks a departure from the initial plan described to the Guardian by a member of the mental health crisis assessment and treatment team at the rescue site. The original plan was to arrange for at least one parent to accompany each boy in an ambulance on the way to Chiang Raiâs Prachanukroh hospital.
Ivan Karadzic, a member of international rescue team, is full of admiration for the way the rescued boys have coped with the unprecedented operation.
Speaking to the BBC he said:
They are being forced to do something that no kid has ever done before. It is not in any way normal for kids to do cave diving aged 11. They are diving in something that is considered an extremely hazardous environment, in zero visibility, the only light in there is the torches you bring yourself. We were obviously very afraid of any kind of panic. Then there is multiple equipment malfunctions you can imagine.
I cannot understand how cool these small kids are … Incredibly strong kids.
If everything goes to plan, by end of the day, no Wild Boars will be left inside the cave.
âYou have seen the rain so you might be wondering â preparation for the third operation has been underway since early morning,â said Narongsak Osatanakorn, the head of the joint command centre coordinating the operation.
He said the first 19 divers involved in todayâs operation were sent in around 10.08am, with more to enter gradually throughout the day.
Torrential rain overnight had not affected conditions for the rescue, he said, it was hoped the rescue could proceed even faster than yesterdayâs.
âThe first day we spent 11 hours, yesterday we spent nine hours, [today] we hope we can do it faster or the same as yesterday.â
âIf everything goes right, we will see four kids and a doctor and Seals that have stayed with the kids will all come out,â he said. âFour plus one coach, so itâs five.â