Thai cave rescuers free four more boys as operation gathers pace

First boys rescued from cave in northern Thailand after two-week ordeal

"They will be kept away from their parents for a while because we are concerned about infections", Chiang Rai provincial Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn said at a news conference about the boys who were rescued on Sunday.

As of Monday morning, nine people remained trapped in the cave, including the 12-member team's coach, after four boys were rescued on Sunday, the first day of the rescue operation.

Of the 13-strong foreign dive team - mainly from Europe - three escorted the children, while the remainder were positioned along the unsafe first kilometre stretch, where the boys had to navigate through submerged passageways in some places no more than two feet (0.6 of meter) wide.

Karadzic said the British divers are the most skilled in the group - "when it comes to cave diving, the U.K.is the best", he said - and acted as beginning-to-end "buddy" escorts for those rescued Sunday.

Australian Federal Police and Defence Force divers, along with Adelaide cave diver and anaesthetist Richard Harris are part of the team working on the rescue.

The group took less than four hours to arrive at 2pm (8am United Kingdom time) in the cavern where the boys have spent 15 days nearly three miles from the entrance.

They said the four boys already rescued are hungry but in good health in a hospital.

It was not immediately clear Monday how the overnight rains had impacted water levels inside the flooded cave.

He assured that the remaining four boys and their soccer coach are ready for extraction.

Engineers have been diverting the water flow into the cave over the past week and pumping it out at a rate of 180,000 litres an hour in an attempt to make it easier for the boys to escape and reduce the amount of time they must spend underwater. "I confirm that we are at war with water and time from the first day up to today", he said Saturday.

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It had been assumed that the four extracted yesterday were boys, but it emerged that the fourth person taken out was the coach, Mr Ekapol.

Four of the boys were rescued on Sunday, and authorities said the next phase could begin any time within a 10-hour window that began about 7 a.m. Monday.

Officials lavished praise on the Thai and worldwide divers who, in pairs of two, executed the risky rescue mission, guiding the boys, who could barely swim and had no diving experience, through a treacherous 4-kilometer-long (2 1/2-mile) escape route that twisted and turned through the cavern.

The 12 boys and their 25-year-old coach went missing after they went into the caves on June 23 and were trapped by rising waters.

Sunday, rescuers successfully navigated the first batch of four boys through the perilous escape route. "They walk from chamber three to mouth of the cave". He had said fresh air tanks needed to be laid along the underwater route.

In an earlier tweet, the Boring Company CEO said this prototype was being tested in a pool specifically with subjects untrained in SCUBA.

The rescue mission will resume today to extract the remaining boys and the coach stranded about 5km inside the Tham Luang cave complex near the border with Myanmar, operation commander Narongsak Osottanakorn said at a briefing late last night. "I am so happy".

One particularly touching note from another boy said: "I'm doing fine, but the air is a little cold, but don't worry".

As oxygen drops below the lower threshold of the optimal level, the body begins to undergo changes and may face the serious risk of hypoxia, the condition that causes altitude sickness, according to OSHA.

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