Four Thai boys rescued as divers brace for next phase

Four Thai boys rescued as divers brace for next phase

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha was visiting all eight in the nearby hospital that they were helicoptered to, he said.

Thai rescue team members walk inside a cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23.

Two boys were brought out on Monday afternoon from a deep cave in Thailand where four were rescued on Sunday, leaving just six more and their soccer coach inside, a military source said.

"The eighth person is out and the operation is done for today", Sitthichai Klangpattana, flag officer to Thailand's navy SEAL commander, told The Associated Press.

After the four boys were removed from the cave, heavy rain started falling.

The Thai community lies on the border with Myanmar and it is where several of the boys on the soccer team go to school.

The boys brought out of the dark, winding cave on Monday are "safe and conscious", said Chiang Rai province acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn, who is in charge of the rescue effort.

"We're ready for the operation today", said Narongsak, who said the weather and the water levels in the cave are good.

After Musk received an outpouring of gratitude for his rescue plans, he replied: "Thanks, we've not done anything useful yet".

"If we wait and the rain comes in the next few days we will be exhausted again from pumping and our readiness would drop".

Workers have been labouring around the clock to pump water out of the cave, and authorities said Monday that heavy downpours overnight did not raise water levels inside.

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An Australian doctor with cave diving experience examined the boys on Sunday and declared them fit for the operation, authorities said.

"This morning they said they were hungry and wanted to eat khao pad grapao", he said, referring to a Thai dish of meat fried with chili and basil and served over rice.

Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda told reporters the four boys rescued on Sunday were in good health in hospital but did not give details. Still, they were undergoing medical checks in a hospital and were not yet allowed close contact with relatives due to fear of infections, who were able to see them through a glass partition.

The boys and their coach had been stranded in Tham Luang Nang Non when they went exploring in the cave after a scrimmage.

A massive worldwide search operation was launched and it took 10 days to locate the boys, who had taken shelter on a dry slope deep in the complex.

Officials said that rescue operations could continue for two to four more days. The operation to get them out was supposed to resume only after new oxygen tanks could be placed along their route of escape, which is partially underwater.

Officials said Sunday it may "take days" to bring the entire group to the surface.

Sunday's mission involved 13 foreign divers and five Thai navy SEALs.

Two divers will accompany each of the boys, all of whom have been learning to dive only since July 2, when the first searchers found them.

Four of the 12 schoolboys were rescued from a flooded cave in northern Thailand on Sunday before the operation commenced a 10-hour pause to replenish oxygen supplies.

Wearing full-face masks, the youngsters swam - for the first time in their lives - through miles of mud-clogged underwater tunnels which claimed the life of an elite Thai navy diver on Friday.

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