It had previously been reported that the initial strategy of rescuing the strongest first had been changed before the rescue operation began, after a health assessment of the football players.
A specialist doctor visiting the group on the ledge deep inside the cave had determined that some of the weakest children may not make it unless they were brought out first.
Today, Navy SEALs commander, Rear Adm. Apakorn Youkongkae said the football coach had been the one to made the call.
‘I haven’t asked the coach yet why he chose that order,’ he said. ‘The coach was the one to choose.’
Thai Navy SEALs who were clearing the flooded cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach were rescued, barely made it out after the main pump that had been siphoning water out of the cave failed, Thai military sources who were directly involved in the operation told ABC News.
The system, which had pumped hundreds of millions of gallons of rainwater out of the cave over the past 18 days, gave out soon after rescuers extracted the coach and the four Thai Navy Seals who had volunteered to stay with them. Thai SEALs and support teams, who were carrying air tanks from the third to the second chamber of the labyrinthine cave, soon noticed the waters rising. The third chamber filled, then the second and then the first, as crews scrambled to avoid the kind of cave flooding that had trapped the soccer team on June 27, according to Thai military sources.