Boys Rescued From Thai Cave, Operations Halted For The Day

Four Of The Boys Trapped In Thai Cave Rescued

The 12 boys - members of a Thai youth soccer team and aged between 11 and 16 - and their coach were trapped in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system June 23 following heavy rains; however, they were found alive a week later by divers.

Health experts also say the lack of sunlight and being in a confined space for more than two weeks can take a toll on them both physically and mentally.

Narongsak described Sunday's initial rescue bid as "D-Day" when it was launched, and there were fears that any one of many potential pitfalls could prove deadly.

During the press conference, Thai authorities said they were hoping it wouldn't rain for the rest of the rescue operation so that the process could be faster.

Air tanks were planted along the route earlier on Monday.

British divers discovered the 13, huddled on a muddy bank in a partly flooded chamber deep several kilometres inside the complex, on Monday last week.

As of Monday morning, nine people remained trapped in the cave, including the team's coach.

Authorities have said the mission could take three or four days to complete.

Rescuers have been navigating a unsafe and complicated plan to get the children out under the threat of heavy rain and rising water underground.

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.

The Thai navy SEAL unit, which has been overseeing the rescue, confirmed on its Facebook page that the total number of boys brought out was eight.

Acting Chiang Rai Gov. Narongsak Osottanakorn said the boys were "conscious and safe" and that the operation went smoothly.

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Narongsak said rescuers had to tighten a guide rope as part of their preparations for the second phase of the rescue on Monday.

The four boys who were rescued Sunday had to travel about 2 1/2 miles with oxygen tanks. There was no word on the condition of the fifth boy brought out earlier on Monday.

Among those are USA military partners, British cave diving experts - including the two men who first located the boys a week ago - and rescue workers from Australia, China and other countries.

The children's families have not been told which boys have been rescued.

Officials have said storms forecast for Chiang Rai province in Thailand's far north had factored into their decision to go ahead with a complicated and unsafe plan for the boys aged between 11 and 16 and their coach to dive out of the cave.

Upon exiting the cave, they were evacuated by helicopter and ambulance to hospital in Chiang Rai province, where they remain.

The soccer team seen in the cave last week, before anyone was rescued.

Multiple sources with knowledge of the operation told Reuters the operation to rescue more of the nine boys and their coach was underway, although no official confirmation was issued.

"We've used all the oxygen", Osatanakorn told reporters. One of the boys was removed by divers, placed on a stretcher and hospitalized.

"The weather conditions and other environments today are as good as yesterday".

They are the second batch to undertake the perilous journey out of Tham Luang cave in Mae Sai district in Chiang Rai.

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