Eight boys and their soccer coach who remain trapped in a flooded cave in northern Thailand waited for a rescue operation to resume on Monday as the first four unidentified boys freed were said to be in good health and recovering in hospital.
Divers had to hold the first four boys close to their bodies to bring them out and each had to wear an oxygen mask to enable normal breathing, authorities said. Last week, a former Thai navy diver died while preparing for the operation.
Chiang Rai acting Governor Narongsak Osatanakorn earlier said the second phase began at 11am and authorities "hope to hear good news in the next few hours".
The boys and their coach have been trapped in the cave system in the country's north for about two weeks.
He later visited the eight rescued boys at the Chiangrai Prachanukroh Hospital. "And we will do it faster because we are afraid of the rain".
An ambulance believed to be carrying one of the rescued schoolboys leaves from Tham Luang cave complex on day two of the rescue.
The boys, ages 11-16, and their 25-year-old became stranded when they went exploring in the cave after a practice game.
Anupong said divers need to place more air canisters along the underwater route, adding, that part of the process could take several hours.
"This morning they said they are hungry, and they wanted phad kra pao", he said.
The four boys pulled from the cave Sunday in an urgent and risky operation that involved them diving through the cave's tight and twisting passages were in good health. Over the next three days, the boys were brought out in groups: four on the first day, four on the second and four, plus their coach, on Tuesday.
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Supporters around the world have been cheering for the 13 members of the team and rescuers, as plans are underway to rescue the boys and their assistant coach.
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha earlier toured the rescue operations near the cave site, suggesting he may organise a party to thank foreign divers who have assisted in the evacuation operation.
Authorities have not confirmed the identity of the first four boys rescued.
The unsafe bid to rescue the boys - aged between 11 and 16 - resumed after a break on Sunday night to replenish oxygen supplies and make other preparations deep inside the cave complex in northern Thailand's Chiang Rai province.
TRT World's John Joe Regan said the rescued boys - who remained in the cave without food for nine days - are weak "but they are doing well". Having completed this section, the boys are then handed over to separate, specialist rescue teams, who help assist them through the remainder of the cave, much of which they can wade through. So far, their families have seen them through a glass barrier.
"Doctors have treated the boys and now all of them are OK and cheerful, and are talking normally", said Jesada Chokedamrongsuk, from the Thai Ministry of Public Health.
The fate of the boys and their coach has gripped Thailand and drawn worldwide media attention.
The four rescued boys have been transported to a Chiang Rai hospital for treatment and medical evaluations, reported CBS.
Among those are United States 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 goal is to get them all out before heavy rain forecasted makes it even more hard to reach them.