Operation Resumes to Rescue Boys Trapped in Flooded Thai Cave

Fighting time, high waters, divers prepare to rescue second group of Thai boys from cave

At a news conference Monday, former Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn said the second rescue involved numerous same divers who brought the four boys out on Sunday.

Expert divers have rescued four of 12 boys from a flooded cave in northern Thailand where they were trapped with their soccer coach for more than two weeks, as a risky and complicated operation unfolded amid heavy rain and the threat of rising water underground.

A source involved in the rescue mission who saw two of the four boys walk out of the cave told Reuters that they looked exhausted but healthy, adding that one even looked "vivacious and fresh".

But with oxygen levels inside dropping to unsafe lows and the prospect of heavy rains flooding the area completely, authorities decided they had to move quickly and take the group out through the water-filled tunnels.

The unsafe bid to rescue the boys - aged between 11 and 16 - got going again hours earlier on Monday after a break to replenish oxygen supplies and make other preparations deep inside the cave complex in northern Thailand's Chiang Rai province.

'The doctors are evaluating when the parents and other relatives can visit the boys in hospital.

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Monday's mission began with eight boys and their 25-year-old coach still underground, all of whom have spent more than two weeks in the cave in Chiang Rai province.

The rescue team is scrambling to extract all of those stranded before fresh rains complicate the task or cut off access by increasing flooding in the cave.

In an indication of how unsafe the journey can be, a former Thai navy diver died in the caves on Friday.

Four boys and their soccer coach remain in the cave.

They were finally found by a team of British divers and have since been receiving oxygen and food while waiting to be brought out. Two divers are helping each one make his way through very narrow tunnels that twist and turn, and filled with dark muddy water.

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.

The boys' nightmare experience - trapped in claustrophobic darkness by rising waters - resonated across the globe, riveting people both in Thailand and internationally who anxiously watched the news coming from this town along the border with Myanmar.

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Four of the boys were rescued on Sunday 8 July.

The operation on Monday went more smoothly than on Sunday and took two hours less as the practice became more refined, he said.

Four ambulances were seen leaving the Thai cave site Monday.

Regarding Sunday's rescue, Narongsak said earlier Monday that the healthiest boys were removed first.

"The weather conditions and other environments today are as good as yesterday". With the assistance of divers, they swam out with oxygen tanks, along a 2-mile long rope guiding them out. Rescue mission commander Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters that after being rescued they were in good spirits but hungry, specifically requesting pad kra pao. I've told Yod to get ready to take me out for fried chicken.

The cave complex is off-limits during the rainy season, which usually runs from May to October, when downpours can quickly flood it.

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