Eight rescued from Thai cave, but five remain trapped

Eight rescued from Thai cave, but five remain trapped

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.

Somboon Sompiangjai, 38, the father of one of the trapped boys, said parents were told by rescuers ahead of Sunday's operation the "strongest children" would be brought out first.

The rescuers are racing against time, as more rain is forecast, and the extra water would significantly complicate matters.

It took three days, but rescue workers have now pulled all 12 boys from a youth soccer team and their coach out of a flooded cave in northern Thailand.

The former governor of Chiang Rai province, Narongsak Osottanakorn, said the healthiest boys were evacuated first and the operation was going "very smoothly".

Each had to wear an oxygen mask to enable normal breathing, authorities said.

After rescuing the four boys, the officials paused the operation for at least 10 hours to fill the oxygen tanks that were used.

Chiang Rai acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn said all four boys rescued Monday are "safe and conscious" and in a hospital.

The four boys pulled from the cave Sunday in an urgent and risky operation that involved them diving through the cave's dark, tight and twisting passages were happy and in good health, authorities said. That brought the total number of boys rescued to five.

None of the trapped boys has ever been diving before and some do not even know how to swim.

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The rescue mission has been a huge operation, led by the Royal Thai Navy's SEAL unit, and supported by a cast of hundreds.

Children look at pictures of students before relatives and friends pray for the 12 schoolboys and their soccer coach trapped inside a flooded cave, at Mesai Grace Church in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand, July 8, 2018. While the efforts to rescue the group increased over the weekend, Musk also started working on an alternative way to help rescuers get the kids out. "Communication is hard, so we plan everything", Karadzic said.

Operations resumed on Monday to rescue nine boys and the coach who remain stranded in the cave.

"If everything turns out as we've expected, whether it be the weather or readiness of the rescue team, there should be nothing to worry about", Chalongchai said.

On Sunday night, Thai navy SEALs posted a celebratory note on their Facebook page, saying: "Have sweet dreams everyone".

The names of the rescued boys were not released. The hordes of global and local media have been kept back from the cave and the hospital in Chiang Rai, where the rescued boys are believed to be under observation.

"We surveyed the cave to find good spots that we could say OK, from this route to this route, if anything unexpected or there's a panic, we go here, and in this other part, if any panic happens, this is where we're gonna go", he said.

"Anyone that has had contact with the boys, including their close family, will be closely monitored to make sure they are disease free".

The rain raises concerns that rising floodwaters in the cave complex will complicate rescue efforts and affect the evacuation.

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