Thai cave rescue: Elon Musk's SpaceX sends over a mini submarine

Thai cave rescue: Elon Musk's SpaceX sends over a mini submarine

The daring and unsafe bid to rescue the boys - aged between 11 and 16 - was suspended by the mission chief late on Sunday to replenish oxygen supplies and make new preparations, which he said would take at least 10 hours. "They have not been moved to Chiang Rai hospital yet".

A relative of one of the 12 boys, speaking to Kyodo News, compared Sunday's rescue to a miracle, adding that she wishes to see the remaining boys and coach get out soon.

Authorities in northern Chiang Rai province began the risky mission to bring out the 12 boys and their coach earlier on Sunday.

To make matters worse, rescuers are facing a "war with water and time" as risky monsoon storms and torrential rainfall could derail the mission.

Officials say it could take up to four days to complete the rescue of eight boys and their soccer coach from inside a northern Thailand cave.

Somboon Sompiangjai, 38, the father of one of the trapped boys, said parents were told by rescuers ahead of Sunday's operation the "strongest children" would be brought out first.

"As all of us said, the main thing is we still need more than 20 hours to get ready", Narongsak said.

Officials said on Sunday night that the extraordinary operation would now pause for 10 to 20 hours to assess next steps, check equipment and refill oxygen tanks stationed along the unsafe route.

Thai Navy SEALS and dozens of volunteer rescue workers have worked around the clock funnelling food and oxygen into the cave and trying to train the soccer team and their coach to dive with heavy scuba gear on their backs.

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One early potential plan was to leave them there for months until the monsoon season ended and the floods subsided completely, but that idea was scrapped over concerns about falling oxygen levels and waters rising too high.

According to a document released by the Thai authorities, two divers will accompany each of the teenagers - who are being brought out in groups.

Four boys were rescued from a cave in Thailand on Sunday, the first wave of a highly anticipated mission to save the soccer team. Their condition was not immediately clear. "Based on the complexity and difficulty of the cave environment it is unknown how long it might take and how many children would exit the cave", the governor further explained.

Provincial Governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn said the mission was a 'race against the water'.

"This mission was successful because we had power".

"Six of them came out", a defence ministry official, who asked not to be named, told AFP.

The four boys emerged from Tham Luang Nang Non cave where they had been stranded for over two weeks after being rescued by foreign and Thai divers. "I believe he will survive", his mother said.

Authorities have been rushing to extract the boys, ages 11-16, and their coach from the cave as the annual monsoon bears down on the mountainous region in far northern Chiang Rai province.

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