"Hooyah", the Thai Navy SEALs, who have played a crucial role in the against-the-odds operation, said in a Facebook post as they announced that a total of 8 members of the "Wild Boars" football team had been rescued on Sunday and Monday.
The diver, the first fatality of the rescue effort, was working in a volunteer capacity and died on a mission to place air canisters along the passage to where the boys are, necessary for divers to safely travel the five- to six-hour route.
"We expect that if there is no unusual condition ... the 4 boys, 1 coach, the doctor, and 3 SEALs who have been with the boys since the first day will will come out today", he told a press conference to loud cheering.
In a day of high drama, the remaining five boys emerged in groups as evening approached, guided out by worldwide divers and the SEALs, who have played an integral role throughout an unprecedented rescue mission.
The boys were exploring the caves on June 23 with their coach when they were trapped inside by heavy seasonal rains.
The official added that the boys met with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha on Monday night.
The same process was used Sunday for at least one of the four boys rescued in the first attempt at getting the 12 boys and their coach out of the underground cave complex.
"They are all in good spirits and happy to be out", Jedsada Chokdamrongsuk, permanent secretary of the public health ministry, told reporters.
British divers found the 13, huddled on a muddy bank in a partly flooded chamber several kilometres inside the complex, on Monday last week.
The plight of the boys and their coach has drawn global attention, with divers, engineers and medics among others flying in from around the world to assist.
Earlier, rescue operation commander Narongsak Osottanakorn said the mission began soon after 10am, involving 19 divers.
"The kids are footballers, are strong and have high immunity", Jesada said when asked how they survived so long.
Officials said they had low body temperatures coming out of the caves.
Narongsak would not identify the rescued boys. Today's mission took about nine hours, two fewer than yesterday's. The distance from where the crew is trapped to the main entrance is about a half a mile, and the boys had to travel most of that distance underwater to reach freedom. Holding them isolated will allow doctors to ensure they do not have any infections, they said.
The chief the rescue mission said they are being kept apart from relatives because of infection concerns, Reuters reports.
Two boys possibly have a lung infection, but all eight are generally "healthy and smiling", he said.
"What we call bottle off restrictions, where they take have to take the bottles off and fit them through", he said.
"I am very happy about those who already made it out and I think everyone will be out today", said Waranchit Karnkaew, 14, who also said the football-mad boys had been closely following games at the World Cup in Russian Federation before they were trapped.
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