Elite divers hauled 4 more young footballers out of a flooded Thai cave on Monday, July 9, authorities said, bringing to 8 the number saved in a stunning rescue mission but still leaving 5 others trapped.
The good news today, he said, was that the rescue team spent nine hours - two hours faster than they did a day earlier - from the time they went deeper into the cave to extract the four survivors until they emerged safely from the cave. As of this midday Monday, eight of the 12 boys had been rescued, and operations were ongoing.
Local governor Narongsak Osatanakorn said Tuesday's rescue operation began just after 10am local time and involves 19 divers.
He said they would need to keep at least 2 metres away from their boys for at least 48 hours, until "we are sure there is no infection, then they can visit them normally". Officials said that rescue operations could continue for two to four more days.
Alluding to that worry, the regional army commander offered his thanks Monday to the rain god Phra Pirun, imploring him to "keep showing us mercy". "They can have normal food but we are making sure it is easily digestible, not spicy or too strongly flavoured".
It could be at least seven days before they can be released from hospital, Jesada said. "So I've been asking for three days".
The boys went missing after football practice with their 25-year-old coach on 23 June. They were mainly being given bland, easily digestible foods.
The identity of the rescued boys has not been confirmed by authorities.
Their friends were full of optimism - and worry. He said a medic and three SEALS in the cave, who've been looking after those trapped, will also come out.
"Even when my friends have left the cave, I'm anxious about their physical well-being".
The search and rescue operation has riveted people both in Thailand and internationally, with journalists from across the globe traveling to this town along the border with Myanmar to report on the ordeal.
The four boys rescued on Sunday were each accompanied by two divers as they were gradually extracted from the cave. Musk, who has been documenting his efforts to build the aforementioned sub to possibly help in the rescue, still clearly felt like he had something to offer.
Workers have been laboring around the clock to pump water out of the cave, and downpours overnight Sunday and Monday did not raise the water levels inside.
All eight boys rescued so far after spending two weeks trapped in a Thai cave are in good health overall and the first four rescued boys are eating well, Thailand's health ministry permanent secretary said on Tuesday.
"All of them have an increase in white cells in the blood, which indicates infections, so we have given them antibiotics as a precaution", Chokedamrongsuk said.
Thai rescue volunteers make their way up to the base camp near Tham Luang cave on Monday.
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