Eight Boys Rescued from Flooded Thai Cave

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. So far, divers have rescued four additional boys, which leaves four more and their soccer coach to go. When the missing soccer team was located on July 2, rescue medics who reached them evaluated all the boys and their coach and divided them into three categories: red for critical condition, yellow for serious condition and green for stable condition.

Though it rained again Sunday, it did not affect the water levels in the cave, said Narongsak Osatanakorn, the leader of the command center in charge of the rescue operation.

Then came the letters carried out by the teams of divers who took oxygen, food and medicine to the boys' refuge as experts pondered whether to dive them out or provision them for months while the monsoon season continues until at least late October. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha, who paid a visit to the site on Monday evening, also turned up at the hospital to meet the rescued boys. He expected it to arrive around 11 p.m. Monday, local time.

Meanwhile, anxious parents waiting at the entrance - many of whom have been holding 24-hour vigils despite the overnight rains - say they are still not being told "anything" about which boys are about to emerge from the cave, and can do nothing but wait.

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.

Workers have been laboring around the clock to pump water out of the cave, and officials said Monday that despite heavy downpours overnight, water levels inside the cave did not rise. The other four boys and the coach are still to be rescued.

Sunday's mission involved 13 foreign divers and five Thai navy SEALs.

An Australian doctor with cave diving experience examined the boys on Sunday and declared them fit for the operation, authorities said.

Thai Navy Sgt. Saman Kunan, an ex-SEAL, died Friday from a lack of oxygen as he attempted to place air tanks inside the cave complex.

A fifth boy was rescued on Monday afternoon, a Royal Thai Navy official said.

Four of the boys were rescued on Sunday, and authorities said the next phase could begin any time within a 10-hour window that began about 7 a.m. Monday. Relatives were able to see them through a glass partition.

Authorities have repeatedly said the rain could re-flood crucial parts of the cave complex that have been drained and make the escape route much harder or even impossible to navigate.

Thai authorities said the four boys rescued from the cave are hungry but in good health.

12 young children and their football coach have been stuck in a partially flooded cave in Thailand's Chiang Rai province since June 23rd, and they're beginning to run out of oxygen. Previously, round trips through the cave network would take about 11 hours.

And, Foisey said, the boys do have one thing going for them: "I'm sure these kids were very determined to get home".

But then oxygen started running low in the cave, and officials also anxious the little piece of real estate the boys and their coach have could be lost.

  • Steve Townsend