4 more boys freed from Thai cave, bringing total rescued to 8

The generals and other officials overseeing the desperate operation to rescue 12 young soccer players and their coach from a flooded cave labyrinth in Thailand's sweltering far north were only half joking when they quipped Monday that success was in the hands of the rain god Phra Pirun.

A group of 12 under-16 boys and their 25-year-old soccer coach went to explore Tham Luang Nang Non-cave in northern Chiang Rai province, Thailand after a practice match on June 23.

At a news conference Monday, former Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn said the second rescue involved numerous same divers who brought out the four boys on Sunday. "They are now at the field hospital near the cave", Tossathep Boonthong, chief of the health department in Chiang Rai in northern Thailand, told Reuters.

Rescuers have been navigating a risky and complicated plan to get the children out under the threat of heavy rain and rising water underground.

The four who were rescued previously were taken to a hospital in Chiang Rai for evaluation.

After his visit, he went to Chiangrai Prachanukroh Hospital to visit the rescued boys.

Rescuers working at a cave site in northern Thailand brought at least one boy out of the flooded cave system Monday, according to a witness working with the rescue team.

The fate of the boys and their coach has gripped Thailand and drawn global media attention.

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. Highlighting the extreme dangers, a former Thai Navy SEAL died Friday while replenishing the oxygen canisters placed along the route to the boys' damp refuge. A medic and three Thai Navy SEALs who have stayed with the boys on a small, dry shelf deep in the flooded cave will also come out, he said.

The boys are being escorted out of the complex cave system via a team of divers. "We will not push them too hard on their studies", he said, adding that extra tutoring will be given to allow the boys to catch up on their missed work.

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Narongsak said that experts told him new rain could shrink the unflooded space where the boys are sheltering to just 108 square feet.

A search and rescue operation was mounted soon after they were reported missing, and military divers have since rescued five of the boys.

"Next couple of evacuations, I think they are going to bring the boys out in groups of four, so there will be two more groups, plus the soccer coach of course".

The identities of four boys rescued from a Thai cave on Sunday evening have not even been revealed to their own parents.

"I'm hoping for good news".

Getting to and from where the boys are has been an exhausting round trip, even for the experienced divers.

"All conditions are still as good as they were yesterday", Narongsak told a news conference.

Thai officials have been tight-lipped about the rescue operation, and would not comment on how many people were removed Monday.

Pad Krapao is a basil rice meal with stir-fried pork or chicken, topped with a fried egg. On top of all the concerns inside the cave, Thailand's rainy season is looming.

  • Sonia Alvarado