Eight Boys Rescued from Flooded Thai Cave

Fighting time, high waters, divers prepare to rescue second group of Thai boys from cave

"The operation today (Sunday) was more successful than we earlier expected", he said.

One volunteer, former Thai Navy SEAL Saman Gunan, died Friday while placing spare air tanks along the escape route.

Eight boys have now been extracted.

It takes around eight hours for divers and rescuers to get them out.

Asked if the remaining five would be shuttled out together, rescue operations chief Narongsak Osottanakorn said it was up to the divers whose meticulous plans, including stashing extra oxygen tanks along the route, are "set for four people, if we bring five we have to change the plan".

"No hugging" or "touching" would be allowed between the boys and their relatives, however, until all medical tests are completed, the official said.

Image: A crowd watches as ambulances transport some of the rescued boysA crowd watches as ambulances transport some of the rescued boys to a hospital on Monday.Lauren DeCicca / Getty Images Three more boys were carried out in the hours that followed, according to a post on the Thai navy SEALs Facebook page.

The four boys removed Sunday were hospitalized in stable condition at Prachanukroh Hospital, about 35 miles from the cave.

"When we heard the boys were found and began to see the visual imagery on TV of the water conditions and what it looked like in the cave, and I saw these hoses with water pouring out of them, I thought, 'We need to get somebody there to be sure they're getting maximum water out of these pumps, '" Decker said in an interview in Singapore.

The evacuation procedure calls for the boys to receive initial medical treatment there before rescuers take them through the remaining stretch of the cave to a field hospital outside, and then transport them by helicopter or ambulance to join their colleagues at the hospital.

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Thailand officials have not released the names of the boys rescued, so as not to upset the parents of any child still trapped.

Divers have rescued four more boys from a vast cave system in northern Thailand on the second day of a challenging mission, as the first four rescued boys recover in hospital.

"Doctors have treated the boys and now all of them are okay and cheerful, and are talking normally", said Jesada Chokedamrongsuk, from the Thai Ministry of Public Health.

Monsoon flooding cut off their escape route and prevented rescuers from finding them for nearly 10 days. "The divers that were assembled from many countries are proud to have conducted this operation until its success", Narongsak said. "Some of them had gone to rest. Some others are preparing for the next operation". And while oxygen is placed along the road, one experienced ex-Thai Navy SEAL diver lost his life last week while replacing the oxygen canisters. Divers have taught the boys to breathe through full-face scuba gear for the areas they must swim underwater.

"This morning they said they are hungry, and they wanted phad kra pao", he said.

When it was realised that the boys were in the cave system, divers began the process of trying to find them in the enormous area.

There were several concerns that prompted authorities to move forward with the plan to dive the boys out.

TRT World's John Joe Regan has the latest from Thailand.

Thai officials are not only racing against worsening weather, but also lowered oxygen levels in the underground complex.

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