Extracting everyone could take up to four days, but the initial success raised hopes that could be done. A large warning sign at the cave's entrance raises the risk of entering so close to the monsoon season, they say, and he should have known better.
The boys, who are due to be taken to Chiang Rai hospital for further medical examination, are said to be in good health, with their condition described by officials as "not that bad".
Two divers were assigned to each child to help them navigate the risky, narrow passageways.
Families of the children have been waiting anxiously for news following authorities' decision to initiate the rescue attempt at 10 a.m. local time Sunday, as storm clouds threatened to dump more water on the flooded caverns, undoing efforts to drain them.
Cave rescue experts consider an underwater escape to be a last resort, especially with people untrained in diving.
Twelve youths aged from 11 to 16 were trapped, while a massive worldwide rescue effort has been mounted including Thai Navy divers and foreign volunteers.
A source inside the Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital where the boys are being kept said their condition was "not bad" but said doctors were watching for signs of emerging conditions such as hypothermia.
The potential for rising water and the dwindling oxygen levels added to the urgency of getting the team out.
The rescue mission is proving to be hard for divers whose efforts are continually hampered by rising water that has filled sections of the cave, often forcing them to stop.
He said the rescue teams would now need "about 10 hours" to ready themselves for the next operation, including reassessing oxygen and other critical supplies, telling SBS News authorities were now "assessing [the] health of [the] children".
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The Thai navy SEALS confirmed that four boys have left the cave.
Twelve boys, ages 11-16, and their 25-year-old coach became stranded when they went exploring in the cave after a game, reports said.
Monsoon flooding had initially cut off their escape, and rescuers were unable to find them for more than a week.
The ordeal has riveted Thailand and captured the world's attention.
The operation to rescue the Thai football team trapped in a cave has begun this morning.
American technology entrepreneur Elon Musk even deployed engineers from his private space exploration firm SpaceX and Boring Co.to help.
Officials say the boys, ages 11 to 16, have been instructed on how to use diving equipment and are aware of the dangers maneuvering through risky, dark, and narrow tunnels.
In one of the videos of testing that Musk shared, a man is seen emerging from the roughly 6-foot long metallic cylinder. "Very courageous and talented people!" he tweeted.
In letters written by the boys released Saturday, the boys appeared calm and reassured their families they were "fine". One boy's note said: "I'm doing fine, but the air is a little cold, but don't worry".
"Don't be anxious", wrote another boy, Mick. "I love you mum".
"I am so happy!" "Although, don't forget to set up my birthday party". "I thank every country, everyone helping the kids to get out".