Thai cave rescue under way to free boys trapped underground

First boys rescued from cave in northern Thailand after two-week ordeal

Thailand cave rescue: Elon Musk team working on escape pod design

The Guardian reports that four boys have been rescued from the Thailand cave.

Four players from the missing Thai football team that became trapped inside a flooded cave have been rescued after divers pulled off a complex rescue mission while racing against the clock.

Complicated rescue: Local government officials said 13 foreign and five Thai divers are taking part in the long and unsafe operation to free the 12 young soccer players and their 25-year-old coach.

Nine people remained trapped in the cave, including the team's coach, after four boys were rescued on Sunday, the first day of the rescue operation. Major Saman Gunan, a former Thai Navy Seal who was volunteering for the rescue mission.

"All conditions are still as good as they were yesterday", Narongsak told a news conference. Each boy and the coach are to be accompanied by two highly experienced divers.

Narongsak earlier cited favorable factors for successful rescue, including the fact that water levels in the cave remain stable amid the current break in the weather, even as the monsoon season looms.

"They insist they are ready to come out", Narongsak said Sunday of the rescue team.

Divers will rest, leaders will evaluate the rescue thus far, and the cave will be prepped with oxygen and other materials required to bring the stranded boys out, he said.

Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda told reporters that the boys rescued Sunday are in hospital and doing fine but require thorough medical checks. An Australian doctor with cave diving experience examined the boys on Sunday and declared them fit for the operation. "The war ends when we win all three battles-the battles to search, rescue, and send them home".

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An additional eight boys, ages 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach are still inside the Tham Luang cave, where they've been trapped by flood waters since June 23.

■ While the rescue was expected to take a few days, the first boy came out at 5:40 pm (4:10 pm IST).

Narongsak Osottanakorn, the Chiang Rai governor and head of the rescue mission, said that "today, everything was smooth".

The rescue operation has been put on hold until today while compressed air tanks are replaced. The team and coach were exploring the cave after a practice game when heavy rainfall and flooding cut off their escape route out of the cave and prevented rescuers from finding them for nearly 10 days.

The other, and perhaps more worrying, was that oxygen levels in the complex were falling close to risky levels. After emerging from the cave, they were taken in an ambulance to be evacuated from the cave site via helicopter.

But with heavy rainfall overnight and more forecast for the coming days, divers will need to work quickly to free those still trapped.

Rescuers didn't use Musk's ideas to get the first four boys out, but Musk tweeted that he's communicating with the Thai government and other experts on the submarine idea.

On Sunday night, Thai navy SEALs posted a celebratory note on their Facebook page, saying: "Have sweet dreams everyone".

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