Lancement de l'opération pour évacuer les enfants piégés dans une grotte — Thaïlande

09 Juillet, 2018, 21:52 | Auteur: Christine Menetries

La Thaïlande tout entière espérait une issue heureuse pour les enfants et leur entraîneur de 25 ans bloqués dans la grotte de Thuam Luang, dans le nord de la Thaïlande, depuis le 23 juin, une saga qui passionne aussi les médias étrangers, qui ont envoyé des centaines de journalistes sur place.

La pluie de mousson menaçant d'inonder ce réseau souterrain complexe, long d'une dizaine de kilomètres, constitue le principal défi pour les sauveteurs, qui redoutent de nouvelles précipitations avant la sortie de tout le groupe.

"Deux jours, huit sangliers sauvages", écrivaient lundi soir les commandos de marine thaïlandais sur leur page Facebook, au centre de l'opération de sauvetage, utilisant le nom de l'équipe de football des enfants, les "Sangliers sauvages". Emaciés mais en vie, ils étaient perchés sur un promontoire, à plus de quatre kilomètres de l'entrée de la grotte. " Le premier [enfant] devrait sortir vers 21 heures " (16 heures à Paris), a précisé ce responsable, qui est aussi le gouverneur de la province de Chiang Rai, annonçant le départ dans la grotte de " treize spécialistes de niveau mondial venant de pays ayant une expertise " en spéléologie".

"J'attends toujours ici à la grotte, je croise les doigts", dit à l'AFP Supaluk Sompiengjai, la mère de Pheerapat, communément appelé par son surnom, "Night".

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Ce dimanche 8 juillet, malgré les risques, les équipes de secours ont pu accélérer leurs opérations et ont réussi à évacuer quatre premiers garçons. Une entreprise périlleuse: un ancien plongeur de la marine thaïlandaise est mort vendredi lors d'une opération de ravitaillement. Ces derniers, âgés de 11 à 16 ans, ne savent pas nager et aucun n'a fait de plongée. Le manque d'espace pour placer suffisamment de bouteilles d'oxygène ajoute aussi à la complexité des opérations. Nous sommes à trois cents mètres seulement de l'entrée de la grotte et nous voyons des policiers et des militaires se mettre en place.

14 h 20 - Quatre des 13 jeunes coincés dans une grotte en Thaïlande ont d'ores et déjà été secourus et devaient sortir à pied sur la dernière section, sans danger, a annoncé dimanche 8 juillet le ministère de la Défense.

Mais face à la menace de nouvelles pluies et à la baisse des niveaux d?oxygène dans la chambre où le groupe a trouvé refuge, les autorités ont décidé dimanche de tenter le tout pour le tout, jugeant les conditions idéales. "Mais la mission n'est pas encore terminée", a tempéré le chef de la junte au pouvoir en Thaïlande depuis un coup d'Etat en 2014, le général Prayut Chan-O-Cha, qui s'est rendu sur le site de l'opération en fin d'après-midi.

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