Authorities did not under-estimate the challenge facing the youngsters, who are aged between 11 and 16, as it took the Thai Navy Seals six hours to reach the boys and five hours to return, negotiating their way through the complex cave system.
Lit by torches and with divers sitting alongside, they each give their name and the traditional "wai" greeting, putting their palms together.
A specialist diver arrives Wednesday as rescue operations continue for 12 boys and their coach trapped at Tham Luang cave in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province, Thailand.
The teammates were found on Monday night by caving experts, including British divers Rick Stanton and John Volanthen.
But others say the boys could be out in a matter of days if the weather is on their side and water can be pumped out of the cave complex, and if they can be taught to use scuba gear.
Updates on the condition of the boys and the water levels were being slowed by the length of the journey to reach the children.
Even with medical treatment, some of the boys are said to be showing signs of weakness and malnutrition, prompting rescue crews to pump oxygen into the chamber where they are trapped. Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda told reporters Tuesday that rising water levels will make it harder to keep the boys and their 25-year-old coach supplied with the food, water and medicine to recover from their 10 days and counting underground. Several of the boys are seen smiling as they interact with the navy SEAL, who cracks jokes.
More than a week later, two British cave divers found all 13 alive in an area that's about three miles from the cave's main entrance.
Thai authorities said they are working to install an Internet cable to the cave so that the parents of the boys can talk to their children.
But Rasmusen said it's possible to teach the group minimal skills they would need to get out.
He said: "Anyone who is ready first will be brought out".
Some areas in the cave complex are so narrow the boys, who can not swim and do not have diving experience, would have to swim through the muddy waters unaccompanied.
"Everyone can be relieved now, as all of them are in the good hands of seven navy Seals", said the Seals commander, Rear-Admiral Arpakorn Yukongkaew.
Divers work on a plan to rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach who remain trapped inside the Tham Luang Nang Non cave, Chiang Rai province, Thailand.Divers work on a plan to rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach who remain trapped inside the Tham Luang Nang Non cave, Chiang Rai province, Thailand.
He said it is unknown when an extraction could be attempted, but it is unlikely to be Wednesday. "It has to be 100 percent safe".
Also per CNN, two of the boys and the coach are exhausted and malnourished. He said authorities will evaluate their readiness each day and if there is any risk will not proceed.
Other teams are still scouring the mountainside in the hope of finding another way into - and out of - the cave.
"There are so many ways that that can go wrong", Courtley said.
That could take months, however, given that Thailand's rainy season typically lasts into October.
Experienced divers are wary of taking out the boys through the dark and unsafe waters still in the cave, especially since they are untrained.
"We are talking kilometers of transport under the water with zero visibility", Claus Rasmusen, a certified Thailand-based cave diving instructor who has been helping with the rescue's logistics, told The AP. He said young people are "especially social creatures, and having friends with them as well as their coach would be a tremendous help".