Thai cave rescue: Eight freed boys given clean bill of health

Thai soldiers walking from the cave area as operations restart on Monday

Image Thai soldiers walking from the cave area as operations restart on Monday

As the eight boys already rescued from Thailand's Tham Luang Cave convalesce in a Chiang Rai hospital, an global rescue team has entered the flooded cave system for the third consecutive day to free the four children and their 25-year-old soccer coach still trapped inside.

"Two days, eight Boars", read a Facebook post by the Thai navy SEALS about the operation that began Sunday, more than two weeks after the Wild Boars soccer team became trapped.

The second shift of the rescue effort to evacuate the trapped soccer team saw a team of 18 Thai and global divers guide four boys about 2 1/2 miles (4 kilometres) to the cave's entrance using a 3-mile (4.8 kilometre) rope on Monday.

Four more boys and their coach remain trapped inside the Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex.

The footballers still awaiting rescue are about two kilometers further in, at a point very hard to access.

American billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk tweeted Monday that he had visited the cave and left behind a mini-sub rescue vehicle "in case it may be useful in the future".

On Tuesday, the four children and their 25-year-old soccer coach still in the cave, rescue mission head Narongsak Osotthanakorn told reporters Musk's submarine was appreciated but not practical.

A team of 19 divers resumed the rescue mission at 10 a.m. local time on Tuesday, Thai officials said.

All preparations, including replacing the oxygen cylinders positioned along the route out in the cave, take at least 20 hours, he said.

Rescuers navigating a perilous 2.5 mile stretch of narrow, flooded tunnels have saved eight of the 13 members of a soccer team trapped in a Thai cave.

Two boys and their coach remain in the cave.

He added, "They still need to be kept away from their parents and others due to fear about infection".

Rescue leader Narongsak Osatanakorn told a press conference on Tuesday that the mission began at 10.08 a.m. local time and that everyone in the cave is expected to be rescued today.

Four more boys were brought out Monday from the flooded cave in Chiang Rai after four others were rescued on Sunday.

Narongsak said he was grateful for Musk's support but the equipment was impractical for the rescue mission.

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.

A doctor and three Thai Navy SEAL members who have stayed with the group since they were found more than a week ago will also leave the cave.

Thongchai Lertwilairattanapong, Inspector General of the Public Health Ministry, said the first four boys taken out on Sunday were eating normal and plain food.

A Thai well wisher puts a poster to pray for boys and their soccer coach who have been trapped since June 23, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand Monday.

Officials described the rescued boys as "hungry but happy".

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