Thailand Cave Rescue Saves 8 Children Trapped For Weeks Underground

Jacob Goldberg 
american divers arrive at the site

He told reporters the four rescued boys were taken to the hospital in the town of Chiang Rai, the provincial capital, for evaluation, and the next phase of the operation would resume after about 10-20 hours.

Narongsak also said Monday that the condition of the five remaining people in the cave is "still good".

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

The rescued boys were now in isolation in a hospital while rescuers continued planning and preparation to save the remaining four trapped players and their 25-year-old coach. He is still believed to be one of the nine inside the cave.

The names of the rescued boys were not released. Some stretches of the Tham Luang cave are more than 10m (33ft) high, while others are a tight squeeze through water-filled passages.

Dozens of foreign divers and other experts from around the world were brought in to help the rescue effort, working along side Thai Navy SEALs.

The team became trapped on June 23 when it set out to explore the cave after soccer practice and rains flooded the tunnels, trapping them inside.

Four of the boys were rescued on Sunday, and authorities said the next phase could begin any time within a 10-hour window that began about 7 a.m. Monday.

The eight boys who've been rescued so far have all swum out of the cave, each escorted by two expert divers. "And we have more expertise than yesterday", he said. It could reportedly take two to four days to complete the mission, officials said, so there is a chance that Musk's mini-sub will be there before the rescue is concluded.

Osottanakorn said the second rescue involved numerous same divers who brought the four boys out on Sunday.

Soldiers arrive outside the Tham Luang cave complex in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand, July 8, 2018.

The rescue operation began on Sunday, and four people were rescued, a further four were rescued on Monday, with six boys and their football coach left in the cave.

A device by Elon Musk's SpaceX and The Boring Company, created to help rescue the remaining members of a soccer team trapped in a flooded cave in Chiang Rai, Thailand, is being tested in a swimming pool in Los Angeles, California, in this still image taken from an undated video obtained from social media.

Four boys and their 25-year-old soccer coach still remain trapped underground as an global effort of volunteer divers and elite Thai Navy Seals shuttle back and forth to bring them to safety.

The four boys, rescued on Sunday, were flown by helicopter from the Tham Luang cave to the Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital, located at the heart of Chiang Rai province, about 70 km (40 miles) away. Monsoon flooding cut off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for nearly 10 days.

A Thai navy official confirmed to Reuters that a boy was freed from the cave on Monday afternoon local time.

Hours later, Musk shared video of the narrow, bullet-shaped tube being maneuvered through an underwater obstacle course with the assistance of two divers.

Authorities spent hours replenishing air tanks along the cave's treacherous exit route.

The boys sounded calm and reassuring in handwritten notes to their families that were made public on Saturday. Days after the stranded team was found, a former diver in the Thai SEAL unit died after volunteering to enter the caves and place air tanks along the path.

The other, and perhaps more worrying, was that oxygen levels in the complex were falling close to unsafe levels.

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