Thai cave rescue: 4 ambulances transport more of trapped youth soccer team

Thai cave rescue: 4 ambulances transport more of trapped youth soccer team

The risky bid to rescue the boys-aged between 11 and 16-got going again after a break from late on Sunday to replenish oxygen supplies and make other preparations deep inside the cave complex in northern Thailand's Chiang Rai province.

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.

Four ambulances were seen leaving the Thai cave site Monday.

The second day of the underground rescue attempt began at 11:00am local time (2:00pm AEST).

Medics appeared to remove one person on a stretcher but hid the person's identity behind multiple white umbrellas.

The four boys pulled from the cave Sunday in an urgent and risky operation that involved them diving through the cave's tight and twisting passages were in good health.

The rescued boys were being treated by medics at the field hospital, and were later airlifted to a larger nearby hospital. Four were rescued Sunday and four more on Monday.

A total of four ambulances have left the area around the flooded cave in northern Thailand where members of a youth soccer team have been trapped for more than two weeks, suggesting eight of the 13 trapped people have now been extracted. The message, like most posted by the SEALs, ended with the fighting cheer adopted from the U.S. Navy: Hooyah.

Meanwhile, Thailand's weather department said there was a 60 percent chance of rain on Monday with thunderstorms forecast throughout the week.

Their large, heavy oxygen tanks are also being carried for them by the rescue divers.

They say rescuing the eight remaining boys and their soccer coach could take up to four days. Early Friday, a former Thai Navy SEAL diver died after losing consciousness while returning from placing air tanks deep inside the caves. "This morning they complained that they are hungry and they asked for fried basil with rice", he added in front of global media.

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The freed boys are yet to meet their parents, who late Sunday night were yet to be told which of their sons had been removed, according to the UK's Guardian.

"The medical team is considering whether to let closest relative visit them", Osotthanakorn said.

The boys and their coach set out to explore the vast Tham Luang cave complex after soccer practice on June 23, and got trapped when a rainy season downpour flooded the tunnels.

Monsoon flooding cut off their escape route and prevented rescuers from finding them for nearly 10 days. The search and rescue operation has involved dozens of worldwide experts and rescuers, including a US military team.

Narongsak said rescuers had to tighten a guide rope as part of their preparations for Monday's operation.

"The divers that were assembled from many countries are proud to have conducted this operation until its success", Narongsak added.

Looming rain was one of the main enemies of the operation, threatening to flood the cave complex in mountainous northern Thailand, although a bewildering array of other dangers could also doom the escape plans.

During the press conference, Thai authorities said they were hoping it wouldn't rain for the rest of the rescue operation so that the process could be faster.

Expert climbers, divers and Thai Navy Seals have mulled contingencies ranging from drilling an escape route through the mountain to waiting out the monsoon inside the cave.

Thai authorities said the rescuers, who were fully equipped, had spent five hours from the entrance of the cave to reach the children and six hours, including a break, to bring them back.

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