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tv   BBC News  BBC News  July 8, 2018 2:00pm-2:31pm BST

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this is bbc news. i'm lukwesa burak. our headlines: officials in thailand say at least four boys have been saved from a flooded cave system as ambulances are seen leaving the site. the boys and their football coach have been trapped in the complex cave system for almost a fortnight and were found by rescue divers earlier this week. experts say divers have faced difficult conditions. it has taken a lot of planning and trying different techniques and finding the best way of going about things. before it could be undertaken. good afternoon.
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reports from northern thailand say at least four boys from the group trapped in a flooded cave have been brought out. a major operation involving international divers and elite members of the thai navy has been taking place to free the 12 boys and their football coach. they became stranded a fortnight ago when the tunnels became waterlogged by rain. our correspondent, dan johnson, is at the mouth of the caves. i believe that you are outside one of the hospitals that has been put on standby. is that the chiang rai hospital? absolutely, yes. this is the main hospital in the chiang rai region. in the last 20 minutes or so, we have seen two ambulances raced into this hospital. we don't know who is inside, but we know that three ambulances left the cave complex, about an hour away from here, so they raced along the road at this point. i can tell you our best source at the moment for what
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is happening is probably the thai navy seals, and on their facebook page they have been providing regular updates as to what is happening. they are the people who have been in the cave, taking videos and posting it of the boys who have been trapped. they say that four boys at this stage have been brought to safety from the cave complex and hour from to safety from the cave complex and hourfrom here. to safety from the cave complex and hour from here. that to safety from the cave complex and hourfrom here. that is to safety from the cave complex and hour from here. that is the word from them. lots of other reports whirling around at the moment, and we cannot say for sure whether they are accurate. what we know is two ambulances here, and four boys what to safety, according to the elite unit which has been spearheading this operation. what are the children's health as they are brought to hospital? what plan has been put in place? the official said, the doctors and nurses, haven't been speaking publicly about what they have been planning, but clearly they have had some time to prepare for this. i know how many
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people they need to be treating, potentially. also misses the boys have been found at the start of last week, they have had a doctor with them who has been able to assess their medical condition on an hourly basis, you would imagine. we heard the officials here in this part of thailand say this morning that the boys were strong enough and mentally fit to embark on this rescue attempt. clearly a decision was made to go with this one as it begin the weather do try to embark on a successful rescue. in terms of how the individual boys will be treated, we haven't got that information at the moment, but clearly they know the moment, but clearly they know the ages of the boys, their conditions in the last week, and you would imagine there is a tailor—made plan for each of these young footballers as they hopefully all emerge to safety and are treated here at ultimately reunited with theirfamilies. here at ultimately reunited with their families. we understand that helicopters have been put on standby. that was one of the plans in terms of getting those boys the hospital as soon as possible. why
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have they used ambulances?” hospital as soon as possible. why have they used ambulances? i think thatis have they used ambulances? i think that is probably one for the medical teams, they will have been doing risk assessments, as they call it. we imagine that the boys were probably assessed after the first and hardest part of this rescue attempt. that was the stumbling block. the case are so narrow, flooded in parts, and they were really concerned that they would be able to bring these boys through the winding narrow passages and corridors. they were probably assessed after that first point and assessed after that first point and a decision was made that they would continue with the rest of the rescue operation. as for helicopters, they are quicker option, but if a decision was made that bringing them here by road was the best option, they have gone with that clearly. we did seea they have gone with that clearly. we did see a helicopter take—off earlierfrom did see a helicopter take—off earlier from the did see a helicopter take—off earlierfrom the site. did see a helicopter take—off earlier from the site. not clear who was in that and what role that was playing in this rescue operation. finally, any indication that family members are attending the hospital?
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in the time we have been here, we have not seen any family members. that is not to say they are not here. we are a distance away, the police and other officials are waving traffic through. it is a busy pa rt waving traffic through. it is a busy part of town here. if family members are here, they are being kept at a distance in the similar weight they we re distance in the similar weight they were kept at a respectful distance from the media, the well wishes at the cave complex, an hour from from the media, the well wishes at the cave complex, an hourfrom here. you would imagine they would be the first to know any development in this operation. they have been consulted throughout, they were told they would embark on this rescue plan, and so if they are here now, they would have the latest information. that will be fed to us either through the navy seal unit or the local government in this part of northern thailand, who have been keeping us up to date on developments was the we will leave it there for now. he is at the
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chiang rai hospital, where at least four boys have now exited that cave system. we believe they have been taken to hospitals. our correspondent is nearly axed exit —— near the exit of the tunnels. what do you know about the numbers? it is difficult to be certain exacting what is going on. we know that an hour ago two ambulances came up that an hour ago two ambulances came up that road, had their flashing light on but were not moving especially quickly, this is a rocky road ina especially quickly, this is a rocky road in a rural location. they were taking the time, travelling carefully, and they headed towards the main road and the hospital nick was outside. we do a favourite taken toa was outside. we do a favourite taken to a helicopter or straight at the
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hospital. we know that four individuals were taken from the caves. the weakest were removed from the caves first was the that is a really positive sign. everyone is taking that as a real note of optimism, that the rescue plan paper to do action this morning can work and bring these boys out alive. there was real doubt about that, real concern about how difficult this rescue would be to actually an act, and whether it would be fully successful. let's not lose sight of the fact that there are nine to be recovered from the cave, to those narrow bottlenecks and across that difficult underwater to rain. it is a tough challenge and could take a while yet. we have seen more ambulances dried in up the road towards the cave, so that could be in preparation for others to leave and go on their way to hospital. but
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there is little official information here about how far this rescue operation has progressed. from this morning, describing this as d—day, their best opportunity to go for it, it looks like this operation has already had some success, perhaps even earlier than they would thought. it was executed at 11 hours to get the first boy out because it is such a trickyjourney. if those ambulances that left here at about 7pm contained those boys, it would have taken only about eight hours to free the first of those boys. so this operation is progressing well and it is hoped that the rest of the group can follow safely. you have brought other there that i underline. the speed at which the first of the boys came out of that cave system, we were expected them in the next hour or so. what is the atmosphere like bush and mike minnow the media have been removed from the immediate site. describe the atmosphere. this morning, there was
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an ocean so atmosphere. this morning, there was an ocean so put around the entrance to the cave, and all of the media and those not concerned with the rescue effort and those not concerned with the rescu e effort we re and those not concerned with the rescue effort were asked to back down. all we can really see is the tea m down. all we can really see is the team here that is guarding the entrance and the vehicles that are coming and going. all day, there has been more equipment taken in up to the cave entrance, we have seen air ta nks the cave entrance, we have seen air tanks being resupplied from trucks that have gone in. we have seen other dive teams going in, perhaps relief divers to help with the effort, because it has been such a huge effort to get them out. when they reach the top bottlenecks, that is where in some cases they have to ta ke is where in some cases they have to take the airtanks is where in some cases they have to take the air tanks off their backs to squeeze through. we know how tricky that is for experienced cave divers. that hit everyone here on the site with the news that one of
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the site with the news that one of the dive team had lost his life as he was exiting the cave. it is a six hour journey out even he was exiting the cave. it is a six hourjourney out even for an experienced cave diver, so these young lads, some of whom could not swim before they went into that cave and certainly have no excreta scuba—diving, and certainly have no excreta scu ba—diving, they are and certainly have no excreta scuba—diving, they are facing one of the toughest challenges that any cave diver could face. they had to learn the techniques of scuba—diving and be familiar with the equipment, the way you breathe and how it weighs you down in different ways. that is all tricky stuff to learn evenin that is all tricky stuff to learn even ina that is all tricky stuff to learn even in a swimming pool, where most people would begin. learning in the darkness and the depths of that cave, 1.5 miles from the entrance, and after two weeks of being stuck there with no properfood or nutrition, that is a difficult challenge. it is an amazing feat if they are going to all get out alive, safe and well. this has already been described as one of the most historic cave diving rescues ever. what sort of international media
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attention has the story attracted? what are you seeing? it is absolutely huge. i am speaking to you from a pineapple field just across the road from the cave entrance, but this has now become an international broadcast studio. there are media teams from around the world, and there have been diving experts from around the world. the core team that is carrying out the rescue includes 13 international divers who have come to thailand to offer their expertise was up most of them are not professionals, it is something they do mainly as a hospital, diving into the deepest caves and exploring in that way. but they have been very useful to the thai navy in carrying out this operation. we understand they are supported by thai navy divers, but they were very frank at the beginning of this that they did not have the experience needed to carry out this sort of rescue. that is why there has been so much interest in this story, so much tension as to whether there would be a successful outcome. for ten days,
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we did not know if the boys were alive or not, they were tracked down there, thankfully still alive, but without any contact from the outside world. it is only the last few days they have been able to receive supplies from the divers who have been seeing them. yesterday, they got letters from the family, a morale boost for everybody. the activity did take a blow with the death of that diver, because they realised how difficult it would be an it was possible that people would lose their lives. the hope is now that four people have come out alive and the rest will follow safely and they will be a happy ending to this story, and it will make for a fantastic film if that is how it finishes. dan was outside the entrance to that cave system. a reuters correspondent has been covering this story and is also at tham luang. you have been there since day one. how have you
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seen there since day one. how have you seen the story evolves? there have been lots of changes throughout this whole period. there we re throughout this whole period. there were times when there was a lot of anxiety, even a sense of despair when the search operation was ongoing. then there was joy and absolute happiness when the discovery that the boys are all alive and well was made. there are mixed emotions because we are trying to verify the numbers and the conditions of the boys who are coming out of the cave. certainly it has been a roller—coaster ride for the media, the rescue workers, the officials, the international divers that i have spoken to in the last two weeks, it has been incredible, really. we have just seen live pictures there of another ambulance just moving away from the cave system, or possibly towards the cave
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system. what do you know about who has come out of that cave system? on the ground here, it is difficult to verify any sort of information, and the authorities at the press centre, at the foot of the mountain near the cave system, have been very silent on the information coming out. but oui’ on the information coming out. but our team has been able to verify information from other officials in chiang rai. the only thing we are able to verify if the condition of the boys rescued so far and the progress of the rescue operation inside the cave. we are now quite surprised at the speed of the rescue operation so far. we were told earlier today that this whole operation could take a few days. we have to wait and see how that will turn out. it has been absolutely
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stunning. here at the press centre, we have seen ambulances moving in and out, passing along the road in front of us. i heard reports from my various colleagues in the field of helicopters and lifting some of the boys out to chiang rai as well. i suppose this is a bonus for the boys and their state of mind. it is not the first time they have entered this cave system, is it? no, we have been told by the families that some of the boys entered the cave system before. it seems that many of them may go into this cave and have experience going inside this very complex system. throughout this incident, we have discovered how difficult it is to get out of the caves and it is surprising that these boys know the system quite
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well. perhaps this is one of the reasons why they survived. they have thrived for this long. these boys will be the best people to tell us exactly what happened once we are hopefully able to speak to them in the near future. it is something like this a first for thailand in terms of the scale and the level of danger that is involved for thailand? it is certainly something thatis thailand? it is certainly something that is very unique, certainly a first in terms of the attention an accident like this has received in terms of media coverage, in terms of the coverage overall, even social media and the like. the whole incident has really brought the country together. people were gripped, thailand was on edge for the last two weeks, waiting to hear
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updates, wanting to know more about the football team and their coach, wanting to know more about the search and rescue operation. it has been an incredible story, and now not just thailand but the entire world is watching. it is a special moment, and we all hope, overall, the officials, the mood at the camp, the officials, the mood at the camp, the mood of the rescuers and the media, we hope it will be good news by the end. in all the time that you have been there, what have the family members that you have managed to speak to being seen to your? there has been various parts. initially, during the search upton met —— the search operation, there was lots of optimism. family members we re was lots of optimism. family members were confident that the boys could survive because many of them know the cave system well. after their discovery, there was a joyous mood. during the period leading up to
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today's rescue, anxiety was developing. many fathers and mothers wanting the authorities to moving quickly, but of course, the difficulty involved in this arduous task has proved that it was impossible to move quickly. the authoritiesjudged impossible to move quickly. the authorities judged that this was the right moment, because of the weather and water conditions, because of the health conditions, and they were practising for the last few days. so this was the right moment, and we hope they are right, we hope that this will be a happy ending at the end. i know the relatives i have spoken to are very much hoping this will be a happy ending at the end. thank you very much. thank you. we are expecting to hear more from officials. the last we heard was from the chief of the hospital and a member of the rescue team but the
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press c0 nfe re nce member of the rescue team but the press conference is expected. on your screen you can see live pictures from around the rescue area, the entrance to the cave system. people have been coming and going. you may be able to see the white helmets, all part of the rescue contingent. this is an international effort. there are rescue members from australia, the uk, the thai navy seals. you can cp pull moving, coming and going around the site itself. now co—ordiating the rescue mission are two british cave diving experts, john volanthen and richard stanton. joining me now, another cave diving expert and friend of the british pair in thailand is martyn farr, who operates are diving training organisation out of crichhowell near abergavenny. thank you forjoining us on bbc
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news. what is your initial reaction to the latest development? this is absolutely fantastic news. the boys are starting to come out of the cave. that will be a massive morale booster. it obviously is an indicator that things are going very well at this point in time. clearly it isa well at this point in time. clearly it is a big ask for everyone involved. we all understand how critical this weather window, well, it is shrinking as we speak, but the right people are doing the right things, andi right people are doing the right things, and i am optimistic that things, and i am optimistic that things will carry on like this. you mentioned the weather. clearly you have some reservations. you have the experience. what are your primary concerns? like everyone else watching the programme, we all know
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that if you have a torrential downpour, we have seen images of the current in the cave today. that would be a major problem for eve ryo ne would be a major problem for everyone if that rainfall intensifies in the very near future. for all of us, intensifies in the very near future. forall of us, in intensifies in the very near future. for all of us, in fact, for the world, this has been a crash course in cave diving. we have heard about the treacherous conditions the boys are having to face. for a child to go into the caves, but then for a child to cave dive, what would be your reservations? it is extremely challenging. there is no doubt about that at all. the images we are seeing of the youngsters clearly show that in good morale, in great morale, and yes, i am quite sure
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that they are taking to this activity remarkably well judging that they are taking to this activity remarkably welljudging by the speed of the evacuation of the first people. john and richard are out there, adding their expertise to the operation. have you heard any news from them? no. i will not see u nfortu nately. news from them? no. i will not see unfortunately. it would obviously be great to speak with them, but we all appreciate, every friend and family member of the british divers out there will understand they are totally concentrating on the job that has to be done, and they cannot afford any distraction from getting thatjob done. they are the best rescue thatjob done. they are the best rescu e tea m thatjob done. they are the best rescue team that possibly could be pulled up in this instance. i am sure there are going to carry on doing a fantasticjob. sure there are going to carry on doing a fantastic job. we have heard
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about the training and the practising and the rehearsals that would have taken place. how important is a diving planning something like this?” important is a diving planning something like this? i am sure everybody out there has been formulating the plan for many days. clearly the plan is working. how many plans would there be? i am sure there have been quite a number. the weather window, this narrow time slot that we have confronting the time, well, this has precipitated the action. as we all more. this emergency, this narrow time slot will have been planned for. everything is going well. when you are down there, obviously communication tactics are important among adults. what sort of things would be used, and what would be
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used to communicate with the children? well, fortunately, there have been a number of thai navy seals going to the chamber, and i am quite sure that all along the route there will be thai rescue personnel to help with the communication difficulties should there be communication difficulties. we heard about the possibility of sedation of the boys to come them down, to avoid the boys to come them down, to avoid the panic which is the greatest danger ina the panic which is the greatest danger in a rescue such as this. is sedation really a possibility? what are the risks involved?” sedation really a possibility? what are the risks involved? i am not medically qualified to answer that. i know certainly that some of the personnel and site are doctors,
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highly experienced doctors, highly experienced cave divers. if that option is required, i am sure that the equipment, the knowledge, the expertise is there to get this job done. if you are cave diving with an expert, a colleague, that is fit enough. if you're diving with someone enough. if you're diving with someone who is inexperienced, what sort of advice to you give to them before you enter a system like that, to make sure that the dive continues safely? once they are under the water, they are either going to be, well, it is going to be difficult under the water. you have seen the situation yourself. the visibility will be very low. we all hope that no panic will arise. judging by what
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we see of the youngsters, i am very optimistic. they are being particularly brave. yes, there are a credit to thailand. they are absolutely great young people, and i am confident that they can hold it together. it has been fascinating speaking to you. martyn farr, a cave diving expert and a friend of two members of the british rescue team currently on—site at the cave diving location. we are nowjoined by chris boardman from the british caving association. again, what has your reaction been to this story as you have watched it unfold? this isjust absolutely fantastic news. i know that the timing is effectively perfect. they have been draining the cave for as
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long as they know the children have been there and they are acutely aware that the monsoon rains are due sometime today. they had to move and they have moved decisively, and i have so much respect for the rescue personnel, for the divers who have come from so personnel, for the divers who have come from so many personnel, for the divers who have come from so many nations, and the thai navy seals and for the children themselves who have stepped up to themselves who have stepped up to the mark. we know that they will not have had to dive the whole distance, not by any means, because of the drainage they were able to do. they will have been able to work and crawl some of the distance which will have made life easier even though it is very physical. my admiration is for the children and their rescuers. how safe is cave diving for children? cave diving for children in the uk is not allowed. if you were to ask to go diving under the age of 16 in a cave with anyone from the cave diving group,
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they would say, no, you will have to wait until you are older. you can learn to dive in warm water, ordinary diving, not in the caves and you can take those skills underground when you're older. you work within the british caving association. how do you make caving safe for children? are you healing magners from parents who had planned to send their children away on a summer holiday, enjoying caving systems, now seeing, can we hold back? this summer, i am taking children caving in france. as yet, nobody has asked me about it. i am sure we will speak about it in the coming weeks. this has to do with picking a system are appropriate for the age and experience of the children. that is no criticism of their football coach. he did
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children. that is no criticism of theirfootball coach. he did not think he was going caving, he thought he was going to a short cave, to a holiday—maker destination, something that thousands of thai people would do with theirfamily thousands of thai people would do with their family and friends on a regular basis. it turns out that this cave had a bit of a bike and i am sure that in the future, some thought will be given the regulation and planning. what is key to the rescue? a good plan. in this case there have been several possibilities. the nightmare scenario of waiting it out became impossible given the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels and the possibility of flooding in the cave itself. they look that alternative entrances and that was ruled out as well so they have spent a lot of time planning this. also, hard physical work, you're asking what is needed. lots of people usually in a cave rescue. the last cave rescue i was part of, i was one of the people
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ina group was part of, i was one of the people in a group in which someone needed to be rescued. 50 people turned up to be rescued. 50 people turned up to help and that was just one guy needing help in the uk. it seems as if, for many people and certainly for these boys, it was a day trip. is caving a sport or an activity for holiday—makers? how important is fitness and training? principally, it is an adventure sport and there is a lot of training that goes into preparing people. in the uk, if you want at the lowest level of caving leadership qualification, you need a total of 40 qualification, you need a total of a0 days underground as a minimum before you would be rated as being competent. in addition to that, you would have some training and assessment. the

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