Mae Sai: Twelve boys and their football coach trapped in a flooded Thai cave for nine days were “found safe” late on Monday, in a miracle rescue after days of painstaking searching by divers.
There had been no contact with the boys, aged between 11 and 16, since they went missing with their coach, aged 25, last Saturday.
The massive rescue effort had been hampered by heavy rains that flooded the Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand, blocking access to chambers where it was hoped the group would be found alive.
Late on Monday, Chiang Rai provincial governor broke the news of their rescue, delighting a nation which has anxiously followed every twist and turn of the effort to save them.
“We found all 13 safe… we will take care of them until they can move,” Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters, who broke into spontaneous applause and cheering.
“We will bring food to them and a doctor who can dive. I am not sure they can eat as they have not eaten for a while.”
They had hoped to find the “Wild Boar” team on an elevated ledge dubbed “Pattaya beach”. But the boys had retreated 300-400 metres further as the ledge was submerged, governor Narongsak said.
Early on Tuesday morning, footage of their discovery was released on the official Facebook page of the Thai Navy SEALS.
In the video, the emaciated and bedraggled Thai youth football team can be seen crammed onto a wedge of dry ground surrounded by water deep inside a cave.
The group, mostly seated and with baggy football shirts pulled over their knees and illuminated by torchlight, asked for food and to leave the cave immediately.
They appeared exhausted, rake thin, sensitive to the light but lucid, with some speaking faltering English to try to communicate with the unidentified diver.
In the video an unidentified diver, speaking with a British accent, urges the group to stay calm and says “many, many people are coming… we are the first”.
A voice confirms there all 13 people who went missing last Saturday are on the slope of land.
One child asks “what day?” and another says “we are hungry.. shall we go outside?”
The diver replies “I know, I understand… no, not today.
“You have been here for 10 days, you are very strong.”
A rake thin child in the foreground appears to bow in gratitude and says “thank you” as his voice falters.
Divers had taken advantage of a brief window of good weather on Monday to edge further into the cave, with the water levels dropping slowly but steadily every hour thanks to round-the-clock pumping.
The team’s travails however, are not over with a complex operation predicted to try to free the ailing group from the cave — which is still partially submerged.
Friends and teachers of the “Wild Boar” football team refused to give up hope of seeing the young players again. Tilek Jana said he was eagerly awaiting his friend Prajak’s return.”Let him come and let’s play (football) together, I miss him,” he told AFP.
CJI recuses from hearing petition challenging interim CBI chief appointment
New Delhi: Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has recused himself from hearing a plea challenging M Nageswara Rao’s appointment as interim Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Gogoi has sought transparency in the process of short-listing, selection and appointment of the CBI Director.
CJI Gogoi said he cannot hear plea as he would be part of the committee meeting to select the next CBI director.
.The plea will now be heard on January 24 by another bench.
The high-powered selection committee comprises the prime minister, the leader of the largest opposition party and the CJI or his nominee judge of the apex court.
A bench comprising CJI and Justice Sanjiv Khanna was hearing a PIL filed by NGO Common Cause challenging the appointment of Rao as interim CBI director.
‘Not safe’: Mamata refuses to allow Amit Shah’s chopper to land in Malda, BJP cries foul
KOLKATA: In yet another attempt by Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal to stop Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) President Amit Shah from addressing rally in the state, the state government has denied permission for landing of Shah’s helicopter in Malda district.
The BJP president, who was recently treated for swine flu at AIIMS in New Delhi, is scheduled to address a rally in Malda on January 22. As per BJP’s plan, Shah will reach Kolkata and then take a helicopter from there to reach Malda where he will participate in a public rally with BJP workers from North Bengal.
The Malda district administration has informed the BJP that it is not possible to grant permission to land helicopters at Malda airport this week.
“As per report of the executive engineer, PWD (civil), Malda Division, up-gradation of work at Malda Airport is going on in full swing. A large quantity of fine sand, dust and GSB materials is lying all along the runway and also stacked all around the site,” Additional District Magistrate of Malda said in a letter to BJP.
The letter added that the ongoing construction work has also affected the maintenance of temporary helipad at the airport and it is not possible to grant permission to Shah’s chopper to land at Malda Airport.
Meanwhile, General Secretary of BJP Malda unit had written to Malda DM saying that West Bengal government is using Malda Airport for landing their helicopter every Wednesday and they are refusing permission to Shah’s helicopter.
Centre threatening to impose Prez’s rule in Andhra: Chandrababu
Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Monday alleged that the Centre was threatening to impose President’s Rule in the state but, he said, nobody would be cowed down by such threats.
He claimed Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a “negative leader” under whose leadership the country was regressing. Addressing a teleconference with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leaders, he attacked the prime minister and the BJP, saying they did nothing special for Andhra.
“They say one Union minister will come to the state every week. What good have they done for the state? On top of it, they are issuing threats that President’s Rule will be imposed in Andhra Pradesh. There is nobody here to be cowed down by their threats,” Naidu said.
Referring to the opposition parties’ rally in Kolkata two days ago, the TDP chief said it marked the beginning of the end of dictatorial rule and gave confidence to the people of the country. “We will hold a similar rally in Amaravati in which leaders of 22 parties will take part,” Naidu added.
The TDP chief lashed out at his Telangana counterpart K Chandrasekhar Rao and YSR Congress president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, saying they were working under Modi’s direction.
The TRS and the YSRC were conspiring to create misgivings among the backward classes so that they are distanced from the TDP, he alleged. He said the backward communities should unitedly thwart such attempts.