Amid jubilation, 4 more boys rescued from flooded Thai cave

Four boys and their 25-year-old soccer coach still remain trapped underground as an global effort of volunteer divers and elite Thai Navy Seals shuttle back and forth to bring them to safety.

Ambulances and rescue crews have returned to the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in northern Thailand for a second operation to free more trapped boys.

They are part of a youth soccer team known as the Wild Boars.

On Monday afternoon, Osatanakorn said the same group of divers involved in Sunday's rescue operation had entered the cave at 11 a.m. local time to rescue the group still stuck inside.

Narongsak said that the "same multinational team" that went into the cave on Sunday to retrieve the first four boys was deployed on Monday. The boys brought out of the cave Sunday and Monday are being treated in a hospital in Chiang Rai, but are being kept in quarantine for now by doctors concerned that they could contract or spread infection.

The unsafe underwater rescues - considered a last resort - involve two divers accompanying each of the boys, none of whom had experience diving before they were found on July 2.

Authorities had said that incoming monsoon rains that could send water levels in the cave rising, coupled with falling oxygen levels in the enclosed space, added to the urgency of getting those trapped out.

The first four boys, from the group of 13, including the coach, were rescued on Sunday.

The effort to save the boys and their coach has involved both foreign divers and members of an elite Thai navy unit.

"Any way we can help involve them in their own rescue is beneficial", he said. A former Thai navy SEAL passed out and died making the dive Friday.

Monday's operation shaved two hours off the time spent freeing the first four boys on Monday, officials said. Now, having used all the oxygen supplies, they'll need between 10 and 20 hours to resupply before resuming the rescue mission.

"So, it's not so much how they'll be feeling in the immediate aftermath - we would expect to see some strong reactions - or not - it depends upon many factors I don't know about". He said recent rains had not affected water levels in the cave and conditions were expected to be "as good as they were on Sunday", reported The Guardian. Cave exploring is something they usually do after practices, but this excursion proved costly after they were trapped by the heavy rains.

Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda also said the boys were in good health.

Narongsak said rescuers would meet Monday evening to plan for the next operation.

Last week, Musk sent engineers from two of his companies, SpaceX and Boring Co., to assist Thai officials in the rescue effort, which comprises a large team of worldwide diving, engineering and medical experts, among other professionals. Students and teachers at Maesaiprasitsart school, attended by numerous children, have been given instructions to avoid "talk that hurts [the boys'] feelings", said teacher Thongyaud Kejorn.

Who are the boys and their coach?

"There's a likelihood of resilience, assuming everyone comes out, there's no fatalities, I think the worst is behind them", Adesman said.

Chiang Rai acting Gov. Narongsak Osattanakorn said the second phase began at 11 a.m. and authorities "hope to hear good news in the next few hours".

  • Stacy Allen