6 boys safely rescued from flooded Thai cave as operation underway

6 boys safely rescued from flooded Thai cave as operation underway

On Sunday, the four boys, whose identities have not been disclosed by the authorities, became the first group taken out from the flooded cave by divers in a daring mission fraught with danger.

Interior Minister Gen Anupong Paochinda said they are generally "strong and safe" and under close medical supervision. Divers are replacing air tanks and supplies along their route until then.

The worldwide effort to save the group has paired divers in "buddy teams" with the remaining eight boys and their coach.

His news of creating an escape pod came after United States and Thai officials got four boys out of the flooded cave network after spending 15 days trapped along with their soccer coach. "We have to be 100 percent confident that there is no risk to the boys before we evacuate", provincial governor Narongsak Osottanakorn said.

"I would like to inform the public at home and those who have been giving us support all along, after 16 days, today's the day we've been waiting for, we are seeing the Wild Boars in the flesh now".

On Sunday night, Thai navy SEALs posted a celebratory note on their Facebook page, saying: "Have sweet dreams everyone".

According to the Associated Press, Thai officials said the healthiest boys have been taken out of the cave first.

Divers have been guiding the boys through darkness and submerged passageways towards the mouth of the Tham Luang cave system, where they have reportedly been able to walk the last part on foot.

In an indication of how unsafe the journey can be, a former Thai navy diver died in the caves on Friday.

Officials had looked at many different ways to save the boys and their coach. Those conditions won't last if the rain resumes, he said.

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The 8 remaining boys could be weaker so those option could still be considered. Drilling a hole into the mountainside to lift them to safety - as 33 Chileans were rescued from a collapsed mine in 2010 - was dismissed because the boys' location couldn't be pinpointed accurately, and it wasn't clear how drilling could alter the mountain's geology.

It was reported that heavy rain was falling at the media centre, around a mile from the cave entrance, which could scupper plans to get the boys out today.

The football team have been in the cave since 23 June, when rising water levels trapped them inside.

The story of the "Wild Boars" soccer team, who first ventured into the caves more than two weeks ago before flood waters trapped them inside, has gripped Thai and worldwide media.

This is a hugely high-profile rescue attempt and Thailand knows the world is watching.

Worldwide rescue teams from the U.S., China, Australia and Europe are stationed along tunnel walls from the entrance of the cave to chamber 3, a safe command center inside the cave, to support the extraction.

An underwater rescue pod fashioned from a SpaceX Falcon 9 liquid-oxygen transfer tube undergoes testing in a California swimming pool.

In letters written by the boys released Saturday, the boys appeared calm and reassured their families they were "fine".

"I promise to take the very best care of the kids", he wrote.

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