Thai official: 4 boys brought out of cave Monday

Jacob Goldberg 
american divers arrive at the site

A total of eight of the 12 boys have now been brought out of the treacherous cave system by divers, including four who were brought out on Sunday, when the rescue operation began.

In a press conference, Narongsak said the four who escaped were "safe" but released few details about their condition or identities. Legal action was underway, they said.

Authorities had been rushing to extract the boys and their coach from the cave as monsoon rains bore down overnight on Sunday.

Volunteers outside the cave in Chiang Rai cheered as news of the first boy rescued on Monday emerged. He is still believed to be one of the nine inside the cave.

The divers also brought out touching notes for the families written by some of the trapped boys.

The only way to bring everyone out of the cave is by navigating dark and tight passageways filled with muddy water, strong currents and oxygen-depleted air.

Authorities said the rescue team included divers from "all around the world, mainly from Europe".

Although it rained on Sunday, it did not affect the water levels in the cave, said Narongsak Osatanakorn, the leader of the command center in charge of the rescue operation.

The boys became trapped in the cave on 23 June after heavy rains caused flooding, but were found alive last week by divers.

Authorities have said extracting the entire team from the cave could take up to four days, but two straight days of success raised hopes that it could be done faster.




The four boys pulled from the cave Sunday were happy and in good health, authorities said. Last week, Musk sent engineers from two of his companies, SpaceX and Boring Co., to assist Thai officials in the rescue effort, which comprises a large team of global diving, engineering and medical experts, among other professionals. Highlighting the extreme dangers, a former Thai Navy SEAL died Friday while replenishing the oxygen canisters laid along the route to the boys' damp refuge.

Interior Minister Anupong Paojina said the same divers who participated in Sunday's rescue conducted the operation Monday because they are familiar with the cave conditions.

There are now five members of the Wild Boar football team now left in the cave.

He said the operation is going better than expected, and that the team would need about 10 hours to prepare for the next stage.

On Saturday, he sent engineers from two of his companies, SpaceX and tunneling firm The Boring Company, to examine the situation and see if there was anything they could do to help.

ABC News' Matt Gutman reports on the ongoing effort in Thailand to rescue the trapped soccer players and their coach.

A truck carrying oxygen tanks arrives outside the Tham Luang cave complex, where 12 schoolboys and their soccer coach are trapped inside a flooded cave, in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand, July 8, 2018.

He added that the healthiest boys were taken out first. Monsoon flooding blocked off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for nearly 10 days. There was some rain on Sunday, which caused some water to go into the cave, but officials were able to pump an nearly equal amount of water out.

Authorities have paused the worldwide effort to replenish air tanks along the treacherous exit route. But officials waited several hours before confirming their rescue.

The other, and perhaps more worrying, was that oxygen levels in the complex were falling close to risky levels.

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