Eight of the 12 boys trapped with their soccer coach in a labyrinthine flooded cave complex in northern Thailand have been freed, authorities said on Monday, adding that the time for rescuing the others will depend on the weather.
A team of foreign divers and Thai Navy SEALS guided the boys during a nine-hour operation through almost 4 km of sometimes submerged, pitch-dark channels from where they have been trapped for more than a fortnight.
The mission to rescue the 12 boys and their football coach, who had become trapped in a series of caves in Thailand, continues today.
Karadzic, who runs a diving agency on the southern island of Koh Tao, said on Sunday that he had been part of the team that placed replacement air tanks in the cave system for the divers bringing the boys up to the surface.
Narongsak Osatanakorn says the rescue mission began at 10.08 a.m. and involves 19 divers.
The eight boys rescued on Monday are in good health overall and some have asked for chocolate bread for breakfast, officials said on Tuesday.
The youngsters and their 25-year-old coach have been trapped for more than two weeks after heavy rains flooded the sprawling cave network, comprising caverns connected by tight passages.
The head of the operation, Narongsak Osottanakorn, said earlier the final operation would be "more challenging" because one more survivor would be brought out, along with three Navy Seals who have been accompanying them.
He said two of them possibly have a lung infection but all eight are generally "healthy and smiling".
And, Foisey said, the boys do have one thing going for them: "I'm sure these kids were very determined to get home".
Four ambulances and a convoy of other vehicles arrived at the cave site Tuesday morning to prepare for the third phase of the rescue.
Heavy rains lashed the northern Thai region late Monday and a steady downpour has continued Tuesday. They were also able to talk on the phone.
Flash flooding trapped the group in the cave on June 23, sparking a multinational rescue mission that had to overcome numerous difficulties, including strong currents of murky water submerging sections of the cave.
Elon Musk visited the flooded Thailand cave to offer a "kid-sized" submarine to help with the rescue - only to be told his technology wasn't "practical" to the mission.
The tech entrepreneur tweeted Tuesday morning he'd "Just returned from Cave 3", referring to the rescuers' command center inside the sprawling cave.
On the weekend Mr Musk said he had been building a "tiny, kid-size submarine" with "feedback from Thailand".
Rescue chief Narongsak on Sunday described their journey out, escorted by the elite divers, as "smooth".
Keeping all the boys calm in a disciplined environment in a pitch-black cavern all that time was likely the result of the coach's training: as a Buddhist monk.
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