Thai cave rescue: Four more boys extracted in second operation

GETTYRick Stanton and John Volanthen are the brave British cave divers that have joined the cave rescue

GETTYRick Stanton and John Volanthen are the brave British cave divers that have joined the cave rescue

The same divers who took part in Sunday's rescue of four boys trapped in a flooded cave will also conduct the next operation as they know the cave conditions.

The second phase of the rescue mission began around 11 a.m. local time (midnight ET) and took several hours.

The Australian foreign minister, Julie Bishop, said in a TV interview on Monday morning she believed the boys would be brought out in groups of four.

There are now five members of the Wild Boar football team now left in the cave.

The rescue operation to free a Thai soccer team from a cave is underway.

The boys have been trapped in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave since June 23 when they and their coach entered and were then cut off by flash flooding.

Xylem, which has a market capitalization of about US$12 billion, has previously helped in rescue operations after mine collapses in Pennsylvania and Chile.

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha was expected to visit the cave site later Monday, after first travelling south to Phuket, where a boat capsizing resulted in 42 deaths, mostly tourists from China.

Authorities declined to say how many boys would be extracted on Monday. In a press conference last night he said it was up to the divers to decide whether it is possible to save all five at once, warning the plan worked best with four.

Speaking to NBC's "Today" on Monday, he said: "The main challenge is that we are dealing with young kids that are in no way trained to do cave diving".

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".

It was the good news the world had been waiting for: the first of the boys trapped in a cave in Thailand had been brought to safety.

After the four boys were removed from the cave, heavy rain started falling.

The cave complex is off-limits during the rainy season, which usually runs from May to October, when downpours can quickly flood it. Relatives said the boys had been inside the complex during the dry season.

Officials have yet to confirm the identities of the four boys freed.

The boys, ages 11-16, and their 25-year-old coach became stranded when they went exploring inside after a practice game.

The fate of the boys and their coach has gripped Thailand and drawn worldwide media attention.

"Our job is not completely done", Osottanakorn said.

The four boys who were rescued Sunday had to travel about 2 1/2 miles with oxygen tanks. "It's probably 90 percent of what gets them out of the cave".

Progress came more easily on Monday, with replenished oxygen tanks and tightened guide ropes. Some are not even strong swimmers, and have had to learn to dive in conditions that claimed the life of a former Thai Navy SEAL on 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.

Police and military personnel shield the fifth survivor with umbrellas as he is transported on a stretcher at a military airport in Chiang Rai, Thailand, on Monday.

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