Rescue in Thailand: 4 boys safely pulled from cave

Four boys have been rescued from a Thailand cave, as authorities announce the second phase of the mission.
28:24 | 07/08/18

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Transcript for Rescue in Thailand: 4 boys safely pulled from cave
This is an ABC news special report. Thailand rescue. Race against time. Hello from New York I'm Dan Harris alongside Paula Ferris and we are coming on the air with some great. News about the rescue operation to save members of that young soccer team and their coach. Trapped in a cave in Thailand for more than two weeks. And this is the scene just outside the cave where it's already Sunday night as for the players were brought to safety. Just a few hours ago and what's been a complicated. And risky operation they were taken to the hospital by ambulance and by helicopter that now being evaluated and treated the boys ranging in ages eleven to sixteen were extracted at a pace much faster than expected it's really incredible development divers had been standing by to make this rescue they started the operation overnight they started bringing the first boys out late last night Thailand time. Which was early this morning. Here US time. They came those boys from nearly three miles deep inside decades and we want to show you leave virtual view of the treacherous route that the divers took them through. In an operation that will continue and hours to come again for have been rescued. Eight remain along with their soccer coach so let's go to ABC's Matt Gutman on the scene in ten right Thailand. Matt what are you hearing now. It was a stupendous day for these people dead and Paula so what they're doing right now is trying to regroup he may be of a see some traffic behind me. They're setting more oxygen tanks. Back into that cave area they've got to replenish the supplies. They're also now pumping additional oxygen in there there's some concern that the oxygen levels have dipped and we don't expect them to begin extracting additional boys those eight boys left plus the coach probably for another six or seven or eight hours up. Not until morning. They're gonna regrouping try to go out this again now the way they did it as you described as incredibly complex its this sort of choreographed dance underwater in this cave. Miles inside so. Each one of the boys had two divers with that they were conveyed along this serpentine route underground some of the underwater. For miles. They stopped at certain chambers were there is much more air. To regroup and try to assess the boy's health and they moved on. The first one came out about 5:40 PM local time the next one came out about twenty minutes later than an hour and a half or so later. The other two boys came out separated by about ten minutes and it ought to tell you at this intersection here. Where we've seen so much activity there's just jubilation there is up. Line of soldiers writer who saluted the rescue workers. When they came out it was such. An amazing moment but because a mention this this is an incredibly torturous in difficult thing to do right so. Not only do they have to travel for hours on and to get through that route. But debt ceiling of the cave is filled with still lag tight jagged quartz rock they've got to deal of the water and obviously the possible fear of these boys panicked gain. While they have these full face masks on the face. But it seems that everybody. Did splendidly well and obviously those boys are now recovering at a hospital likely suffering from some sort of exhaustion or something but. Clearly a very difficult ordeal for them for the past sixteen days now Dan of law. Yes so far Matt thank you so far it has been a best case scenario. But they are not out of the woods yet let's send things over to James long man was also on the ground there and James this continues to be a race against time we know that they've taken a little bit of time off. Eight boys remain in that came as well as their coach but it's a race against time and and it looks like the rains are coming. Yeah that's been the whole issue from the very beginning poll. To beat their reign in the whole issue is be the water level in not cave. From the very start at least when we needed these boys were indicate as a member. It to begin with for the first few days of this they little Allston there was no sign of them but. Then rescuers discovered that they would back that was real jubilation in the camp which wherever what was the was based. And then the realization that actually they had to be built now I'm not. The aim was to bring down the wartime out was a big big problem. The last few days even though the count was dry it seemed that they weren't able to really bring it down. As much as they would've liked it was being brought down by one or two centimeters a day. They had something like sixty pumps that kind of from one Palmer had something like 400 holds power. Working around the clock may put downs in to try to get the water diverted away from the cave and it seems that. Water walls brought south from some of the more. Difficult parts of the cave in and I'm most importantly they go. Creative some of the rock which was preventing the boys from being able to. Come out without having to dip their head against the war to rest with that from the very beginning. They did not want these boys to have to fully submerged themselves an extended periods of time it wanted to bring them along the top of the waters about with the real breakthrough they use these underwater jackhammers. To break down the rock but now as you can see the rain has were times. And it's unclear what what about going to due to the situation inside the cave. If they've built enough downs to make sure this rang might make a difference remember these cave sits on death. An enormous mountain range is basically. And natural drainage system for a jungle. And allow water seeping down into what is and limestone cave and with the comes in from all over the place that seats inside safe tonight I think there will be. A house that is a bit of consent that this rain could make a difference hopefully isn't strong enough to really delay the rescue operation but. We rescuers have been saying authorities have been saying they are fully committed to getting the rest of these boys out this if anything it's just going to push them to do it more quickly. That's a great day but to underline your point there's still a lot of work to be done reason for concern. Nine families worried about their children and also the family of course of the coach that point five year old coach who. That led them in today came and has subsequently apologized for but one reason for hope is that they've again. They told us with the four week kiss boys they wanted to get them out first in the fact that they were able to take a week as boys. And move ahead of schedule. That has to be a source of optimism and I wonderfully nature to talk a little bit chances. You've been on the scene from the very beginning of this story but how the mood has shifted over these. In various ways over the past two weeks. That has been a real rides you know we arrived tea very early on. Seuss story well I think poverty most of the kind of international sites like us. Came in thinking cook they really find these boys in this enormous K for the told how big it was it goes from here in Thailand. We're in the very northern part of the country into Myanmar another country this cave. System is enormous to the I did they would even find them at the very beginning. Was kind of ludicrous but it. And lo and behold. They did and they even found them further inside the K than they had originally anticipated to that was great euphoria. But then it really did dawn on everyone in the in the count just how difficult it was going to be to get these boys out there was a really really strong current missile images. All of rescue dive as. Pulling themselves hand over fist along roads to try to get themselves off back case. 56000. Diving for very thick strong Navy SEALs and then of course a few days ago the sad death. Of one of those forma Thai Navy SEALs rescued volunteers who had. Spend his time delivering oxygen tanks and at times into that cave to allow people to get further down. He ended up dying of a lack of oxygen so I think that about point that was formerly the most it's been since the beginning of this whole situation and so it's a reminder Lydia Powell. Months how difficult this whole process has been his death. Yes as you say real a real ride but hopefully west seeing the end of it but it again and you know this rain this is. I think this is really a worry now. Yeah I can head just a range of emotions that so many have endured it and if they have to take a Bradie James to pump more oxygen into the caves and then they'll resume. Try to extract the remaining eight boys and that soccer coach but I just can imagine what those families james' thinking I can't imagine what those families. Are going through right now we wanna joining during banker accused I just outside the local hospitals there we know for boys are at the hospital. In Ager and look kind of treatment while they undergo once they're at the hospital. While the four boys who are here on scene we go there on that eighth floor that we were told by officials has been reserved for all. Thirteen were coming out of that cave. And they will be reunited with families collects here we suspect already in their mothers and fathers aunts his uncles arms. We do know that they'll be. Undergoing complete medical evaluations besides what was done already for them in the staging area inside that cave and all along the way they've had doctors and nurses and paramedics alongside of them. We saw. From what officials are told us that. They had a field hospital there at the cave site James and Matt have been reporting on that. And then they were transported to an ambulance which took them to the helicopter which took them to another ambulance. Which brought them right here to this hospitals doorstep. Act now we do know that they'll be checked for inspections. There is C a T disease as it's called an airborne lung infection. Of that is of concern I just from them being inside that cave in the conditions there at the damp mist of the keeping around water so long have been being in the water. There are concerns that they may need to be tested and treated. For any type of bacterial infection as a result of all of that and just a mental and emotional state being in the dark that long throwing officer Katie and rhythms. Being a wave from their families and friends being away from a normal routines. Or exercise mean these are a young soccer players ages eleven to sixteen imagine the energy that your sign. Or nephew or cousin has and that they're trapped inside this very enclosed space. For two weeks straight. He was already mentioned that this coach really has been adding to the camaraderie and a hopeful is that the team really keeping these young boys. Alive and alert that they will be treated. If any of them have posttraumatic stress disorder which doctors have told us is certainly possible where they'll have nightmares or be concerned. About being an enclosed spaces or fearful of the dark. But again they'll be all treated here on that eighth floor and reunited with their families and that is a good thing falling again absolutely. But we can't say it enough there -- eight more children in there yet to be rescued along with their coach Adrian banker outside the hotel on camera we appreciate it. And this image really underscores the poignancy. And that T human nature of this rescue effort to picture put out on FaceBook by the royal Thai Navy SEALs. With the caption we. Both the Thai and international teams will bring out. The wild four teams the team the soccer team they're the wild boards it will bring them back home who yeah. The wild Boris. Eight of them still in that cave tonight. There are eighteen divers who participated in today's rescue thirteen foreigners five Thai Navy SEALs and so let's go back to Mac government. To talk a little bit mad if he would about what a team effort this is what an international. Effort that's it. Yeah we focus on the divers a lot. And talk about those thirteen divers who physically escorted her thirteen foreigners who physically escorted those boys additive Caver at least the first four. But really this is been a massive herculean effort by so many others they're ninety total divers involved in today's rescue alone fifty of them. Foreigners so that's a large number but also we've had people from all over the world just physically hall gas tanks air takes all the way into the cave their people who have. Laid rope across their communications set up from places like Israel there are darkness from. Finland in Belgium and Holland and England in the United States self it is really truly been an international effort one of the things they have to commend the Thai authorities for. They have not been ashamed about asking for help they have taken everybody in. They have invited as soon as if we are of their own family and everybody with whom I've spoken to said that the atmosphere here has been just incredible so participatory. And accepting. That they have really I mean obviously he's been incredibly difficult work for them but they have felt like they are. Part of this Thai family and just to be able to cap it off at least with those first four rescues has been tremendous for so many of those involved here. And the international community has certainly rejoicing this has banned. And inspiring and collaborative effort but Matt and it is dark where you are it's almost midnight in Thailand. And a Thai officials said that they are going to take a break about a ten to twenty hour break from extracting the remaining boys in the soccer coach can you explain Deborah when I'm home. YE that's necessary. I think because they had so many people involved in this rescue its leader Li was the final push they threw everything at this they had. But they also expanded a tremendous amount of resource is so as James mentioned there are enormous amount of palms. Pushing water out millions of gallons at a time. There are divers who are spent they're tired and they've literally posted hundreds of air tanks. Along the route. For the divers and their teams around them multiple multiple people to use as they go through and one diver described to me is like climbing Mount Everest it is so physically exerting and today we spent and how or indicate that was similar to it. Minus the water and you know within five minutes I was huffing and pop and so they're going through air and a tremendous pace they've got to. Build back their stockpile of those air tanks are pumping in gases well oxygen ought to try to make sure that the other boys and their coach. Are ready for this journey and a probably want to do it without the rain and without all this mud in the darkness of even the people who are in support roles outside the cave. Don't have to suffer through these conditions as well so. The key goal right now was not only to get the boys out. But to get them out safely there are so many pitfalls in that cave and I think after today's success they want to take it silly but again. From the start they told us this could take three to four days and we hope it doesn't but I think they are willing to take that time if they feel like they needed. It's a herculean task and the camaraderie. The cooperation really the best of humanity on display here Mac up and our thanks to you and the rest of the team covering this story and Chad right. Who want to promise you that hear it we here at ABC news will stay on this breaking story. Both on ABC new look at news and Lot of return you now to our regular programming. But as I said are continuing our coverage will continue and again we will update you here with any more breaking news and as a reminder Tom Dallas we'll have a full wrap up. On world news tonight. Dan and I thank you for watching. Yet Paula thank you Robert Johnson in New York we are continuing our breaking news coverage this miraculous event taking place. In Thailand the rescue effort under way we have correspondents throughout the region bringing you all of the latest information but I just want to get you caught up. On some of the new. As you're looking at a map of this region we got some new information. In the last few hours directly from the officials there in Thailand. And I want to read a quote for you the regional governor their saying short time ago quote. Today was very successful. More than we expected. And the reason for that is they actually started moving this rescue operation ahead of schedule they were able to bring out four boys. And those boys sent to the hospital said to be in good condition. And originally when this plan came together they thought that there might be periods of time of several hours between when each pair of boys come out. But what we've been told is that the first two boys came out early this morning eastern time here in the US and at about ten to twenty minutes later. The second group of boys came out so we'll get four boys total. Of the twelve on the wild Boortz soccer team were in that cave now in the hospital receiving treatment. Now what's happening right now losers habitable pause in the activity because the rescuers. Again it is night time there in Thailand eleven hours ahead of us here in New York. So it's in the evening the rain is coming down. And they decided that they needed to replenish the oxygen supplies indicates you're looking at video of those rescuers were we are ongoing in out of that cave. And they did a number of things to make this rescue possible. They actually brought under water jackhammers into the cave to hammer away at the ceiling so that they could open up more air pockets. Our team's long man was reporting that the rescuers really didn't want to have to have these young boys submerged fully under water for extended periods of time so they opened up the cave a little bit. But they decided to rush this ahead of schedule because of that rain the monsoon that was coming through. This is how the boys got into this situation to begin way if you remember going back to June 23 this is sixteen days ago. Those twelve boys and their 25 year old soccer coach venture ventured into that cave at that time walking in the water wasn't there. But then the skies opened up the rain came down. And all the little channels in the Europe flooded that came from the boy is their exit was cut off. They had to retreat deeper into the cave about three miles in the higher ground. And they had been stranded there for nine days we didn't know if the boys were still alive. And then those incredible images. That we've been showing you. When divers found them all of them alive and in good condition with their soccer coach so here we are today. It's an incredible task that they are facing but successful. So far four boys. Out of that cave but so long waist ago ate more. Still ahead we're gonna bring in some of our correspondents who've been following this around the around the world here. First though we want to check in with John excuse me. Admiral Robert horror word he's a former navy seal former deputy of US central command and ABC news contributor admiral or word. Thanks so much for joining us on the phone we wanted to chat with you because. You as a navy seal could give us an insight as to what is going on inside this cave we know there's habitable pause right now you have it can you walk us through what might be happening as they replenish some of those oxygen supplies. Yeah born. Just an amazing event from start to finish. Where the kids end up where they were alive and well being. Then the murky teens buying goblet. And then to start planning and putting together everything to recover and it is. Vulnerable. They got you got up why a group. OK we got here in your plan back. Yet late pop and they got executed in a mom or you can order because of the rain. Look at hard leadership has just been tremendous. Movement very deliberately. And what that. Urgent the situation dictated. Go and Paul. Look at our whatever he does bear your corporate network that was one heart or higher they have looked good. Plan. A plan work. It won't go back and make sure now everybody where all the oxygen supplied weaponry and pervert. We don't know but maybe they're bigger than the issues important now sport current so they're looking at. Hey we are very good place water. We need to put more like. Q do more. Sort of like they've got everything today barely deliberate very. All Latin. All sorts including the international community to support from her absolutely broad net so. Back to your point. Where we are now as well it is brilliant corporate. They're gone replied to the planning orders. And get everybody a chance. Rep. And help who can really help you over a coat and quickly they did the vote more because now we know there are no better leadership. Everyone's going to be pomp because you know what you're all so. Ron execution by the leadership you're all of that is buried challenge and that precedent setting. Rescue operation. And emotional. The hearts of the world really going out to these twelve boys that soccer coach and of course all the rescuers who were putting their own lives at risk. Admiral Robert or where thank you so much for your time we'll check back in with you later. I just wanted to give a couple quick bullet points here as we're getting the numbers today's mission involving eighteen divers thirteen foreigners and five Thai Navy SEALs. Ten of those divers were actually the ones who escorted the boy use. Out so getting some of the numbers here to get a sense of that camaraderie that teamwork that international effort. Let's go to war ABC news correspondent James Longman who has been their from the very beginning sixteen days James you've been out there. On this emotional roller coaster. I'll talk to me about what's happening now are you said when you first arrived. There is for many of the foreigners coming from other countries there is perhaps so dwindle even if it. Little hope that they would even still be alive and yet here we are the boy is emerging out of this case. Meaning that we you've been to stories as well when you arrive and you think. Wow I mean they can possibly not be any hype we Indian names we going Cameron. United we sold the magnitude of what was up against these rescue is weasel just how big these caves on how deep how long they how treacherous. You know this is the cave system near northern Thailand which stretches and to me on law and neighboring country. They're enormous and for the first few days rescues had no idea if the boys are liable way they were. It's but we were here when they were discovered and I see that we discovered about three to 400 meters further into the cave system. Than rescue is anticipates it. That was a great moments when those British divers popped up inside the cave you can imagine being on the wet muddy bank can Wear those boys have been waiting lap time Nestle fifths shots the ones that they had been wearing off the soccer practice before they went into the tank. Seeing nosedive has come off in the ward said the sense of Cuban nation and and we felt it on the outside of the cave but. Then the realization that they have to get out of their and they were in. That lost you those lofty cab cabins the very end of the cave. With a really the most treacherous because we understand the boys and we eighty smoke themselves through some of those holes to get through. And then within two hours of being in that it could flash flood it they were stuck and those little tiny holes were deep underwater. So then it was down to rescue is to figure out a way of getting them out through those tiny holes. In often 678 feet two walks I mean extraordinary and a minute pitch black often very money but Tina and visibility we spoke to one divers and it was like. Stemming thru coffee say it was a real Jenny and then just only a few days ago we sadly lost. Former Thai navy seal. In the cave on its way back from laying oxygen tanks he died of a lack of oxygen I think it really wasn't about moment that everyone thought. This is actually these kids are in real danger and they might not get out. And so tonight I think it's been an extraordinary night because they've gone ahead of schedule they've got these boys out quicker than they fed they would it started this morning at 10 o'clock. Local time they say it at 9 PM we should see the first boy actually we with stood just outside the cave in at 7 o'clock. I was interrupted in my sold out by the ambulances going calls me and it was a wonderful moment. But like you said you know we've got a long way to go in this rain. This rain really tonight. Blue keeping off fingers crossed that is. It is not enough to come the rest of the rescue operation is those divers need to rest they need to replenish oxygen inside those caves and they need to stop again. I hope that they not push to doing the doing now before they're ready to close this down post up name are James. Longman and credible reporting your entire time out there operating at that insight thank you so much. It's important point out too to our viewers that Thailand in this area specifically. Eleven hours ahead of us here on the East Coast so again what he's talking about things happening in the evening there. This was unfolding in early morning hours here. In the United States sell. Great news encouraging news but still a long way to go let's go to war ABC news correspondent Adrian banker who's been outside the hospital this is where they've been staging Adrian the family members. Who've been waiting. Desperately to get this good information about their children. Four boys out but still eight more in the soccer coach what do you tell us about what's happening at the hospital. Right now it's actually the quiet as it's been since we arrived here around eight. This morning our time so to think about it we've been out here for about fifteen hours or more. Our colleagues James and that of course they've been out for days and weeks but behind as you can see the roads are completely reopened as a little bit of traffic but it's also. Almost midnight here in strong rye we do know that the hospital is now housing four of those youth who were able to come out safely. From that cave. As we've been reporting to you they are being treated on one of the floors here is a fourteen story high hospital. They've reserved the entire eight floor so that doctors and nurses can be dedicated to the thirteen of them. All of whom are expected to arrive here by ambulance we seeing for those ambulances arrived with flashing lights police and military escorts. And we've been monitoring the progress here as again we're expecting to see this same scene tomorrow. After they do. The rescue and recovery efforts. Under the came within about an hour's drive from here. They were able to convince the time it would take to transport those young men from the cave by flying them in by helicopter that first. Were taken into a staging area inside the cave in examined there have been a field medic. Took a look at them again. They were put into what I'd ambulance by a paramedic. And then transported to a helicopter which landed just to shortly we hear about a seven minute rides that we were able to tying the arrival. Of those four ambulances pretty much on Q as soon as he arrived. At the helipad at the old airport here in front right now this is normally a very quiet town very peaceful nothing much happens here. But this is the most exciting this is the biggest thing to happen in this area and for much of the world this is one of the biggest stories of the year not the decade these youth were even alive at all. As you've heard reported by James Longman and Matt Gutman this was somewhat of a miracle on the Don Peebles as human being has meant that many revelers they live. It's such treacherous conditions. That alone was encouraging but now to see that four of them have come out and they're reunited with their families here they'll be tested for things like infection and of course they're breathing will be measured. But we hope to hear more from the hospital and of course more and more of the recoveries begin. Back to you. All right Adrian thanks so much again were looking at these incredible images this such a special moment. In this process when they were able to find the boy is alive you see their smiling faces the wild Boortz soccer team at Thailand sticking together. And hopefully by the end of the day within a number of hours all of them will be out of that came Adrian thank you so much again just update you there's a bit of a pause in the rescue effort right now. Four boys removed from the cave but it's getting into the middle of the night there in Thailand they are replenishing the oxygen supplies oxygen tanks as well. Reassessing to make sure they can get the rest of the boys out of there safely the rain is coming down as we saw. In the live shot of Jane's long mean there which. Create some other concerns which is why they've also expedited this rescue mission. So we're gonna stay on top of this bring you any new developments on You can download ABC news app. For breaking news alerts and a meantime for the special coverage continuing coverage of the Thailand rescue Robert Johnson. This is ABC news line.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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