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How The Thai Navy Rescued The First 4 Boys From That Isolated Cave In Thailand
The boys had to travel about 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) with oxygen tanks, tethered to cave divers to exit. About 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) of the journey was underwater, where everyone had to wear full face masks.
Reports emerged that the trapped boys did not know how to swim. Swim lessons are rare in Thailand, where the leading cause of death for children under 15 is drowning. Over the past few days, the boys were given lessons in swimming and diving before they started their journey out of the cave.
Experienced cave divers have noted how difficult the dive in Thang Luam Cave is. In addition to having no experience diving, the boys have mostly been without food and medicine for two weeks in tight quarters where oxygen is limited.
On Friday, officials warned that oxygen levels in the cave dropped from 21% to 15%, further complicating rescue efforts. A Thai Navy SEAL commander told reporters he believed there was "a limited amount of time" left to rescue the soccer team.
How they got out
For the first four rescues, two divers accompanied each boy, one from the side and one from behind. They made their way back to the entrance of the cave guided by a 3 mile rope. In total, 13 foreign cave divers and five Thai Navy SEAL divers participated in Sunday's rescue, according to Reuters.
The boys had to navigate through flooded passages that are no more than two feet wide in some areas. According to the Thai government, when they reached a spot that couldn't fit a person and an oxygen tank, the divers would take the boy's tank off his back while slowly guiding the boy through the narrow passages.
Shayanne Gal/Business Insider
The first boys exited the cave several hours before they were expected to — each leg of the journey was estimated to take six hours. Narongsak Osottanakorn, the Chiang Rai governor and head of the rescue mission, said that "today, everything was smooth."
The rest of the rescues were put on hold Sunday night while air tanks and other systems are refilled.
Racing against the rain
The boys were trapped in the cave when unexpected rains made their trip out impossible. For the last several days, crews have been trying to drain enough water out of the cave to make the rescue easier. Officials recognize that they have to finish the recuses quickly, before seasonal monsoon rains arrive and flood the caves even further.
Osottanakorn told reporters that the team had rehearsed the plan for several days, and had cleared a sizeable amount of the flooding from the cave.
The rescue has captured the world's attention, and many have offered their ideas on how to get the team out.
Rescue teams gather at a deep cave where a group of boys went missing in Chang Rai, northern Thailand, Monday, June 25, 2018.Associated Press/Thai News Pix/Krit Promsakla Na Sakolnakorn
Tesla CEO Elon Musk suggested creating a tunnel out of tubes in order to avoid diving. He also floated using a small submarine that's "Light enough to be carried by 2 divers, small enough to get through narrow gaps."
Rescuers didn't use Musk's ideas to get the first four boys out, but Musk tweeted that he's communicating with the Thai government and other experts on the submarine idea.
On Sunday, Musk posted photos and video of the "kid-size submarine" his team was testing in LA. He said they would send it to Thailand Sunday evening.
Read more from Business Insider:
- The Thai Navy SEALs are posting heartwarming Facebook updates as they race to save the boys from the cave
- Elon Musk posted videos of the 'kid-size submarine' he's sending to help save the boys trapped in a cave in Thailand
- The cost of one of the U.S.-South Korea military exercises Trump called 'tremendously expensive'? $14 million
- ISIS is trying to make a comeback by creating chaos with assassinations — the same tactic it employed before it rose to power 5 years ago
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New trailer for 'Bloodshot' gives us Vin Diesel as a super soldier who can literally get shot in the face and just walk it off
(Reuters) - In the summer of 2004, U.S. soldier Greg Walker drove to a checkpoint just outside of Baghdad's Green Zone with his Kurdish bodyguard, Azaz. When he stepped out of his SUV, three Iraqi guards turned him around at gunpoint.
As he walked back to the vehicle, he heard an AK-47 being racked and a hail of cursing in Arabic and Kurdish. He turned to see Azaz facing off with the Iraqis.
"Let us through or I'll kill you all," Walker recalled his Kurdish bodyguard telling the Iraqi soldiers, who he described as "terrified."
He thought to himself: "This is the kind of ally and friend I want."
The US military quietly pulled 2,000 troops out of Afghanistan over the past year without a peace deal
The U.S. military has pulled about 2,000 troops from Afghanistan over the past year, the top U.S. and coalition military commander said Monday.
"As we work in Afghanistan with our partners, we're always looking to optimize the force," Army Gen. Austin Miller said at a news conference in Kabul. "Unbeknownst to the public, as part of our optimization … we reduced our authorized strength by 2,000 here."
"I'm confident that we have the right capabilities to: 1. Reach our objectives as well as continue train, advise, and assist throughout the country," Miller continued.
The New York Times was first to report that the U.S. military had reduced its troop strength in Afghanistan even though peace talks with the Taliban are on hiatus. The number of troops in the country has gone from about 15,000 to 13,000, a U.S. official told Task & Purpose on condition of anonymity.
Separately, the U.S. military is considering drawing down further to 8,600 troops in Afghanistan as part of a broader political agreement, Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters on Oct. 19.
"We've always said, that it'll be conditions based, but we're confident that we can go down to 8,600 without affecting our [counterterrorism] operations, if you will," Esper said while enroute to Afghanistan.
So far, no order has been given to draw down to 8,600 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the U.S. official said.
After President Donald Trump cancelled peace talks with the Taliban, which had been expected to take place at Camp David around the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the U.S. military has increased both air and ground attacks.
In September, U.S. military aircraft dropped more ordnance in Afghanistan than they have since October 2010, according to Air Force statistics.
However, the president has also repeatedly vowed to bring U.S. troops home from the post 9/11 wars. Most recently, he approved withdrawing most U.S. troops from Syria.
On Monday, Esper said the situations in Syria and Afghanistan are very different, so the Afghans and other U.S. allies "should not misinterpret our actions in the recent week or so with regard to Syria."