Amid jubilation, 4 more boys rescued from flooded Thai cave

Amid jubilation, 4 more boys rescued from flooded Thai cave

Remember those soccer boys who spent more than two weeks in a Thai cave after water from heavy rain blocked their exit?

They were guided by expert divers who plotted the hours-long escape through more than four kilometres (2.5 miles) of twisting passageways and flooded chambers.

Divers who extracted four Thai boys from a cave, resumed the rescue operation on Monday for eight remaining schoolboys and their football coach trapped in a waterlogged cave in northern Chiang Rai province, a senior official said.

Thai policemen secure the road leading to Tham Luang cave area as rescue operations continue for those still trapped inside the cave in Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park.

The head of the rescue mission, Narongsak Osottanakorn, said last week they would bring the fittest people in the group out first.

Thai authorities say the second phase of an operation to rescue the remaining eight trapped boys and their soccer coach from a cave began at 11 a.m. (midnight ET).

Narongsak said the first four rescued boys had not been identified out of respect for the families whose sons were still trapped, adding that the boys were being kept away from their parents due to fear of infection.

The trapped boys have been divided into groups.

Rescued schoolboys are moved from a military helicopter to an awaiting ambulance at a military airport in Chiang Rai, Thailand, July 9, 2018.

Authorities have said extracting the entire team from the cave could take up to four days, but Sunday's success raised hopes that it could be done faster.

A source involved in the rescue mission who saw two of the four boys walk out of the cave told Reuters that they looked exhausted but healthy, adding that one even looked "vivacious and fresh".

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Following the successful evacuation on Sunday, rescue personnel assessed their performance and adjusted the plan for Monday, resulting in "a smooth, coordinated operation", deputy commander of the Third Army Maj Gen Chalongchai Chaiyakham told reporters.

The high-risk rescue dive began with a sense of urgency after authorities failed to settle on an alternative means of bringing the boys out.

The Royal Thai Navy Seals also confirmed that yesterday's mission was over.

The saga has dominated global headlines, with the team spending nine days unaccounted for inside the cave before British divers found the emaciated and dishevelled group huddling on a muddy bank.

The same elite divers involved in Sunday's rescue would conduct the next one, given their knowledge of the cave conditions, Thailand's interior minister said in a statement.

The four rescued boys have been transported to a Chiang Rai hospital for treatment and medical evaluations, reported CBS.

The cave complex is off-limits during the rainy season, which usually runs from May to October when downpours can quickly flood it. Relatives were able to see them through a glass partition, the governor said.

"I'm hoping for good news today", he said.

The boys are wearing special diving masks that cover their whole face as this helps them breathe more easily from their oxygen tanks.

Osotthanakorn said the boys were hungry and asking for a Thai dish of beef with basil and chilli.

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