Thai cave rescue: 4 more boys brought out; 5 still trapped

Second day of Thailand cave rescue

Second day of Thailand cave rescue

Four more of the boys trapped for over two weeks in a flooded cave in northern Thailand were brought out on Monday, an official said, bringing to eight the number extracted in a high-stakes rescue operation.

Twelve boys aged from 11 to 16, plus their 25-year-old coach, were caught inside the cave.

Somboon Sompiangjai, 38, the father of one of the trapped boys, said parents had been told by rescuers that the "strongest children" would be brought out first.

Earlier Monday, Narongsak said the four rescued the day before were in good spirits. A former Thai navy SEAL passed out and died making the dive Friday.

The search-and-rescue operation has riveted people both in Thailand and internationally, with journalists from across the globe traveling to this town along the border with Myanmar to report on the ordeal. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha was visiting all eight in the nearby hospital that they were helicoptered to, he said.

"All conditions are still as good as they were yesterday", he told a news conference.

Thailand's Meteorological Department said there was a 60 percent chance of rain Monday with thunderstorms forecast throughout the week. "If I ask too much, he might not provide it".

The dramatic three-day mission kicked off Sunday after days spent preparing the cave - and the boys.

Thai soldiers walk out from the Tham Luang cave area as operations continue for the 8 boys and their coach trapped at the cave in Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province on July 9, 2018.

It appears that the team were going into the cave as part of an initiation ceremony which tasked the boys with reaching the end of the cave and returning having written their names on the far wall.

Their friends were full of optimism - and worry. He said it was out of respect for the families whose sons were still trapped in the cave.

"Even when my friends have left the cave, I'm anxious about their physical well-being". Relatives were able to see them through a glass partition.

He was taken by helicopter and then ambulance to the hospital in Chiang Rai were the first four boys, who were rescued on Sunday, are now being held in quarantine as they undergo tests. But the rescue was prodded into action by the threat of a fresh round of rains and falling oxygen levels in the cave.

Those still inside the cave are perched on a small muddy ledge 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from the entrance, surrounded by floodwater and with a limited supply of oxygen.

TRT World's John Joe Regan said the rescued boys - who remained in the cave without food for nine days - are weak "but they are doing well".

The effort that swelled and gained momentum after the group was found last Monday involved more than 100 other rescuers inside the cave, 1,000 members of the Thai army and nearly 10,000 others who facilitated everything from rides up to the cave site to meals of fried chicken, eggs and rice and noodle soups for divers, volunteers and journalists. The message, like most posted by the SEALs, ended with the fighting cheer adopted from the U.S. Navy: Hooyah.

Four boys and the coach remain trapped in the cave.

Each arduous round-trip extraction took between nine and 11 hours. The safety of the divers, who have meticulously planned the mission, is also paramount.

Perhaps those prayers were answered, as hours after the last team members were rescued, the heavens opened and the monsoonal rains thundered down.

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