Eight boys rescued from flooded Thai caves, now up to 'rain god'

Credit PA

The ambulance drove toward a helipad, where a helicopter was seen taking off shortly after to the cheers of the crowd below.

Reuters news agency reported that six boys have been rescued, citing a senior member of the medical team involved in the rescue. Eighteen divers set off at 10 a.m. local time on a risky mission to rescue the junior soccer team, who had been stuck deep inside Tham Luang cave for 16 days.

He told reporters that four boys were brought out and taken to the hospital in the town of Chiang Rai, the provincial capital, for evaluation, and the next phase of the operation will resume after about 10-20 hours.

Completing the mission could take up to 3 or 4 days, depending on the weather, rescue operators told Reuters. Eight boys were rescued in two separate missions and brought to a hospital in the nearby city of Chiang Rai all in good condition, according to public health officials.

In an indication of how unsafe the journey can be, a former Thai navy diver died in the caves on Friday.

Narongsak said the 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.

Rescue chief Narongsak Osottanakorn told journalists near the Tham Luang cave site: "Today is the D-day".

Two divers accompanied each boy throughout the narrow cave passageways, guided by a rope.

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Workers on the site had tried a number of other options to rescue the boys.

Officials said at a news conference that the parents of the rescued boys, whose names have not been released, have not yet been allowed to have physical contact with them, pending more extensive examination of their physical condition.

The team became trapped on June 23 when they set out to explore the cave after soccer practice and rains flooded the tunnels, trapping them inside. However, it only took 7 hours and 40 minutes.

They spent nine days unaccounted for inside the cave, before British divers found the emaciated and dishevelled group huddling on a muddy bank.

An ambulance leaves the Tham Luang cave area with one of the four boys extracted by divers yesterday from the complex in Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park.

Heavy rains are expected to continue in the coming days while breathable air inside the cave dropped to concerning levels, hastening the need for their escape. And many of them are experienced cave divers, which certainly helps because this is a very risky operation.

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.

"Football's Coming Home. First Wild Boars Out", a headline on one online Thai paper said on Monday, referring to a song chanted by English soccer fans at the World Cup now underway in Russian Federation.

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