Divers have rescued four more boys from a vast cave system in northern Thailand on the second day of a complex operation.
The Thai Navy Seals leading the rescue operation have confirmed that eight boys in total have been extracted.
Four boys and their football coach remain inside the caves. Rescuers will try to free them on Tuesday.
The group became trapped on 23 June after heavy rains caused flooding, and was found last week by divers.
The boys who were rescued on Monday are said to be in reasonable health. Photo Credit: AFP
Four boys were brought out safely on Sunday, but the mission was paused overnight for air tanks to be replaced.
On Monday, air ambulances were seen departing from the area around the cave system and ambulances were seen arriving at the hospital in the nearby town of Chiang Rai.
The boys have not been seen in public, but have been pronounced to be in reasonable health.
The rescue operation is complicated by sections in the cave involving diving – sometimes in very confined spaces – and climbing.
The BBC’s Dan Johnson, at the scene, says it is a careful, delicate operation fraught with risk. But he adds that this daring, dangerous and complicated exercise is delivering success against difficult odds, and relief is starting to break the tension of the situation.
The group of boys and their coach were found after nine days. Photo Credit: AFP/ROYAL THAI NAVY
After Monday’s operation had wound down for the day, rescue mission chief Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters: “All four boys have arrived at hospital, all are safe.”
He said the second day of the operation had gone more smoothly than the first, taking two hours less as the procedure became more refined.
Tuesday morning will see the start of attempts to rescue the remaining four boys and the football coach.
A massive pumping operation is said to have helped lower the water level inside the cave system, making the journey in and out easier than it was.
The Thai authorities say the rescued boys are able to eat rice porridge, although their request for a favourite pork dish has been turned down until their digestive systems recover from 10 days without food.
The government is strictly controlling information about the rescue. The names of the boys who got out have not been released, and even their parents have not been allowed to see them – for health reasons, say Thai officials.