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6 boys now free from Thai cave; rescuers aim for 7 others

12 July 2018
6 boys now free from Thai cave; rescuers aim for 7 others

The remaining seven boys and their 25-year-old coach have been trapped in the underground maze since June 23 when they and they entered and their exit was cut off by flash flooding.

On Sunday afternoon, Elon Musk tweeted that the kid-size submarine his team had developed to assist with the rescue of Thai boys trapped in a cave was en route to Thailand. Massive pumps are being used to lower water levels to shorten the underwater distances.

Narongsak quipped: "If the God of Rain has mercy for us, we may be able to finish it fast".

The divers will stop off at scheduled points throughout the journey stocked with extra oxygen tanks, allowing the crew to replenish themselves and the boys they are guiding. "But I expect the operation to finish within the next couple of days". He described the four boys rescued Monday as "safe and sound" after they made a treacherous trek out of the bowels of the cave in "buddy teams" escorted by elite divers through narrow crevices and floodwaters that required the use of scuba gear.

Authorities say the rescued boys are happy and in good health.

Their friends were full of optimism - and worry.

None of the trapped boys has ever been diving before and some do not even know how to swim.

"Even when my friends have left the cave, I'm anxious about their physical well-being".

The eight boys rescued from a flooded cave in northern Thailand are in "high spirits", a senior health official said Tuesday.

He said the four boys rescued on Monday have been sent to the hospital and their conditions are good, "better than those brought out yesterday".

The other, and perhaps more worrying, was that oxygen levels in the complex were falling close to risky levels.

Officials said late Sunday they'd need to pause the operation for at least 10 hours to fill oxygen tanks that had been depleted during the first phase of the rescue mission.

The rescue mission has been a huge operation, led by the Royal Thai Navy's SEAL unit, and supported by a cast of hundreds. The message, like most posted by the SEALs, ended with the fighting cheer adopted from the U.S. Navy: Hooyah.

A witness on the scene reported seeing three people being carried on stretchers from the cave into an ambulance on Monday, with the first one emerging about 4:30 p.m., Reuters said. The first and longest mission took 11 hours.

The operation has been meticulously planned to ensure "minimal" risk from danger in the cave, but it has already claimed the life of a diver.

"This morning they said they were hungry and wanted to eat khao pad grapao", a local governor said, referring to a Thai dish of meat fried with chili and basil and served over rice. "But if the rain god doesn't help, then it could be challenging".