Thai basil pork rice is first meal choice for rescued footballers

Thailand Cave Search

Chiang Rai acting Governor Narongsak Osatanakorn

The boys and their coach, all from the "Wild Boars" soccer team, became trapped by rainy season floodwater on June 23rd when they had set out to explore the vast cave complex after soccer practice.

As the eight boys already rescued from Thailand's Tham Luang Cave convalesce in a Chiang Rai hospital, an global rescue team has entered the flooded cave system for the third consecutive day to free the four children and their 25-year-old soccer coach still trapped inside.

"The children complained that they were hungry and wanted holy basil stir-fried rice", Narongsak Osottanakorn, the head of the rescue operation, told reporters on Monday, referring to the popular Thai dish.

Former Chiang Rai governor and rescue mission commander Narongsak Osotthanakorn said Monday night that it would take 20 hours to prepare for the operation, but he cautioned timings could change depending on weather and water levels.

As well as the four remaining boys and one adult, three Thai navy Seals and a doctor who have been...

The first group who were rescued were 14 - 16 years of age, and the second group slightly younger, between 12 - 14.

Four boys and their coach remain in the cave, but it's unclear if authorities will try to extract them in a group of four or try to take the five out in a single mission.

Still, health officials were wary of possible infections "because we have never experienced this kind of issue from a deep cave".

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Importantly, as of the time of this writing, eight of the 13 trapped people have already been saved by the heroic actions of rescue divers and support teams.

Technology billionaire Elon Musk went into the cave on Monday and left the rescue team with a "kid-sized" submarine his company SpaceX had built, Thailand's interior Minister Anupong Paochinda said. "They can have normal food but we are making sure it is easily digestible, not spicy or too strongly flavoured". Bancha Duriyapan told a news conference punctuated by applause from the dozens of Thai and foreign journalists and others in attendance.

Thai authorities said the first four rescued Sunday were in "good health" but have been kept in quarantine until the risk of infection subsides.

The boys had a good appetite but were mainly being given bland, easily digestible foods.

The names of the rescued boys have not been released out of "respect for those families whose sons are still trapped inside", the mission chief said.

Musk said on Twitter: "Just returned from Cave 3". 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 Phra Pirun helps us, we might be able to do it very quickly", Narongsak said, again invoking the god of rain, who is widely revered in Thailand. Heavy rains in the morning cleared during the day, leaving the teams operating outside the cave in stifling heat.

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