Thai cave rescue: third mission planned amid heavy downpours around site

The Thai navy SEALS confirmed that four boys had been freed from the cave on Monday, bringing the total number of children rescued from the flooded cave system to eight.

The hazardous bid to rescue the boys - aged between 11 and 16 - started unexpectedly on Sunday when the rescue team said conditions were flawless for the evacuation.

Officials lavished praise on the Thai and global divers who executed the risky rescue mission, guiding boys who can barely swim and have no diving experience through a treacherous 4-kilometre-long (2 1/2-mile) escape route that twisted and turned and rose and fell inside the mountain cave complex.

A BCRC spokesman said: "The UK divers are part of the core team, so they will be actively involved and that will include escorting each child out through the flooded passage".

Thai officials estimated the rescue operation would take 10 hours and end by 9 p.m. on Monday. The 25-year-old football coach may have to wait one more day for rescue.

"Give us three more days and the Boars will come out to see the world, every one of them", Maj-Gen.

A source involved in the rescue mission who saw two of the four boys walk out of the cave said that they looked exhausted but healthy.

The urgent and unsafe effort has involved the boys diving through the cave's tight and twisting passages, guided by experienced divers.

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It's unclear whether Thai officials will opt to use Musk's submarine to rescue the four remaining boys and their soccer coach. It ended with their fighting cheer, adopted from the U.S. Navy: "Hooyah!"

1 NEWS' Kimberlee Downs has the latest from Chiang Rai.

"This morning, they said they were hungry and wanted to eat khao pad grapao", he said, referring to a Thai dish of meat fried with chili and basil, and served over rice.

The boys, whose names have not been revealed, are being treated at Chiang Rai Prachanukraw Hospital in Muang district.

The leaders overseeing the desperate and risky rescue of 12 young soccer players and their coach from a flooded cave labyrinth in northern Thailand were only half joking when they quipped that success was in the hands of the rain god Phra Pirun.

They had been trapped inside the Tham Luang cave for more than two weeks. A massive worldwide search operation was launched and it took 10 days to locate the boys, who had taken shelter on a dry slope, deep in the complex.

Mr Narongsak allayed concerns that recent heavy rain might have raised water levels, saying conditions were "as good as yesterday" "We should hear good news again", he added.

The distance from where the crew is trapped to the main entrance is about a half a mile, and the boys had to travel most of that distance underwater to reach freedom.

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