Thai Cave Rescue Underway

GettyImages-989828480

GettyImages-989828480

The extraction team began the risky operation at 10am local time and the families of the missing boys have been informed.

The operation, which started on Sunday morning, will take two to three days to complete, as each round trip from the rescue camp in the cave to the site where the boys and their coach are located takes 11 hours. He said the boys rescued Sunday were strong and safe but needed to undergo medical checks.

Narongsak, who is heading the operation, said earlier Sunday that 13 foreign and five Thai divers were taking part in the rescue, and two divers were to accompany each of the boys, all of whom have been learning to dive only since Monday, when the first searchers found them.

As of this writing, four of the boys have already been rescued but operations have been put on hold to restock on supplies.

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

Since the footage was taken expert divers have rescued four of the 12 boys. Osatanakorn said the rescue, which began at 10 a.m. Sunday local time, has been going better than expected.

A heavy but brief downpour hit the area Monday morning, but it was unclear how the rain affected the conditions inside the cave where the 12 boys and their coach were stranded by the high water more than two weeks.

The Facebook page for the Thai Navy SEALs has been posting updates on the effort. Narongsak said the four were then taken to a hospital.

The Thai navy SEALS confirmed that four boys have left the cave.

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

Officials had looked at many different ways to save the boys and their coach.

He said the extraction effort would likely resume early Monday.

Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda told reporters the rescued boys were in good health in hospital but did not give further details.

A frantic rescue mission was hatched in the week since they were found.

The football team have been in the cave since 23 June, when rising water levels trapped them inside.

An Australian doctor who is part of the worldwide team of rescuers checked the health of the boys Saturday to decide who should be brought to the surface first.

Sustained heavy rains could make the water rise to the shelf where the children are sitting, reducing the area to less than 108 square feet, he added, citing estimates from cave divers and experts.

The ordeal has riveted Thailand and captured the world's attention.

A short official video released by the rescue operation late on Sunday showed four ambulances with their lights flashing driving up the muddy dirt track that leads to the cave complex.

"Don't be anxious, I miss everyone".

An worldwide team of expert divers-90 in all, 40 from Thailand and 50 from oversees-have been working in the area. "I want to say thanks for all the support and I want to apologise to the parents", he wrote.

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