Thai cave rescue resumes to free eight boys and coach still trapped

First boys rescued from cave in northern Thailand after two-week ordeal

Rescue workers in Thailand on Monday brought four boys safely out of a labyrinthine flooded cave complex where a 12-member soccer squad and their coach were trapped for more than two weeks, taking the total number rescued to eight.

The boys, who range in age from 11 to 15, as well as the coach, have practiced wearing diving masks and Thai Navy SEALS are being told to prepare for a sudden evacuation.

Rescue operation chief Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters Sunday night all four were in stable condition. To get a sense of the overwhelming worldwide interest in the effort, the post attracted tens of thousands of likes and more than 10,000 comments within an hour.

The "Wild Boars" team has been stuck in a cramped chamber several kilometres (miles) inside the Tham Luang cave complex since June 23, when they went in after football practice and were hemmed in by rising waters.

The operation to rescue the remaining eight boys - some as young as 11 and weak swimmers - and the coach was called off at nightfall until Monday to give the divers time to replenish oxygen supplies and ensure all preparations were complete. Nargonsak said rescuing all the boys could take days.

"It has been raining incredibly heavy, we've had these huge monsoonal rains that have hit overnight", Channel Nine's Alice Monfries said this morning.

You can find live updates about the effort here and here. Monsoon flooding cut off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for nearly 10 days.

"I mean, we're a big country and Thailand is a small country. Based on the complexity and difficulty of the cave environment it is unknown how long it might take and how many children would exit the cave".

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Making the announcement over a loudspeaker, a police spokesman said: "Everyone who is not involved with the operations has to get out of the area immediately".

Engineers have been diverting the water flow into the cave over the past week and pumping it out at a rate of 180,000 litres an hour in an attempt to make it easier for the boys to escape and reduce the amount of time they must spend underwater.

Thai authorities say it is unknown when the first group of boys trapped in a flooded cave will begin their dive out of the cave, the key part of a rescue operation underway.

Thai media reported one of the four boys was in a critical condition and a family friend told a reporter it was Mongkol, the weakest of the group, whose condition has since stabilised.

Rescuers didn't use Musk's ideas to get the first four boys out, but Musk tweeted that he's communicating with the Thai government and other experts on the submarine idea.

They expected the process to take two or three days.

The death of a former Thai Navy SEAL diver who ran out of oxygen in the cave last week underscored the danger of the journey even for adept professionals.

The first, almost 1km-long section from where the boys have been huddling in darkness is believed to be the most hard, requiring a long dive and crawling through mud and debris, with some crevices barely wide enough for a person. That along with dwindling oxygen levels, added to the urgency of getting the team out. "We want to evacuate all 13 people as soon as possible but I don't want to specify any day and date", said Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha (above, at right).

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