A treacherous rescue bid to free a youth football team trapped in a flooded Thai cave entered its second day Monday, with nine of the "Wild Boars" still inside after elite divers guided four out. Each of the rescued boys had two divers with them at all times during the operation.
"Football's Coming Home. First Wild Boars Out", a headline on one online Thai paper said on Monday, referring to a song chanted by English soccer fans at the World Cup now underway in Russian Federation.
The entire operation to get all 13 out of the cave could last 2-4 days, depending on weather and water conditions, said army Maj.
He told reporters the four rescued boys were taken to the hospital in the town of Chiang Rai, the provincial capital, for evaluation.
"I promise to take the very best care of the kids", he wrote.
Extracting everyone could take up to four days, but the initial success has raised hopes that it can be done.
It is understood the same divers who rescued the first four boys have been given the job of getting the remaining team members out. "Water is draining ok [from the cave]" and that operations to divert streams and pump ourt water from the cave were still under way.
The boys were discovered huddled on a muddy bank by British divers a week ago.
The rescue operation will now pause for at least 10 hours, according to Narongsak Osatanakorn, chief of the command centers coordinating the rescue, so that divers can replenish their oxygen tanks.
The Facebook page for the Thai Navy SEALs has been posting updates on the effort.
Ambulances and a helicopter were seen buzzing around in the vicinity of the cave complex, ready to to spirit the four boys to a hospital in nearby Chiang Rai.
But the best window for a rescue could come soon, authorities said prior to Saturday night's rain.
Rescuers are also in a race against time, with weather forecasters warning heavy rain could hit the area on Monday afternoon and continue through the week.
Interior Minister Gen Anupong Paochinda said they are generally "strong and safe" and under close medical supervision. He said that process can take several hours.
David Strike has known Dr Harris for more than 10 years and says his unique skill-set gives the boys every chance of making it out.
Rescue teams had installed a static rope along the dive path, giving the boys a guide, and experienced divers were reportedly positioned at various points along the way for assistance.
Their teammates remain trapped in the caves with their coach, with the operation resuming today.
A spokesman for Musk's Boring Co tunnelling unit, which has four engineers at the cave, said Thai officials had requested the device.
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