Thailand cave rescue: ‘Everybody will be out TODAY’ Eleventh person rescued

Tham Luang Cave thailand

The third phase of an operation to rescue four remaining boys and their soccer coach trapped inside a flooded Thai cave began on Tuesday morning, the head of the rescue mission said.

The plight of the boys, aged 11-16, and their coach, has riveted Thailand and much of the world - from the heart-sinking news they were trapped to the first flickering video of the huddle of anxious yet smiling boys brought back by the pair of British divers who found them after penetrating deep into the sprawling cave.

The three Thai Navy SEALs and Thai doctor who were with the children for the full eight days from their discovery to the rescue are fine as well, he said.

The operation on Monday went more smoothly than on Sunday and took two hours less as the practice became more refined, he said.

Chiang Rai Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn says the rescue mission began at 10.08am and involves 19 divers.

Two of the boys had suspected lung infections but the four boys from the first group rescued were all walking around their hospital beds.

The emergence of the second batch of four boys on Monday evening was greeted with a simple "Hooyah" by the SEAL team on their Facebook page, an exclamation that lit up Thai social media, while positive medical reports on the rescued group further fuelled the sense of joy.

It is believed that today's operation will take longer than the previous ones, but they are optimistic that they will be able to bring the five members of the team out.

The boys will miss the FIFA World cup as it could be at least seven days before they can be released from hospital.

However, another official, Thongchai Lertwilairatanapong, inspector general of the public health ministry, said initial blood tests "showed signs of infection".

As of 2:40 p.m. local time, the rescue has been underway for over 4 hours and nobody has been seen yet leaving the cave.

Eight boys have now been rescued from Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Thailand after a youth soccer team intending to write their names on the wall of the tourist attraction was driven miles into the labyrinth by sudden monsoon rains that seasonally close and flood the caverns.

Many of the Wild Boars players came from impoverished families, and Chanthawong reportedly helped put in place a system whereby kids would get soccer gear from sponsors in return for good grades.

Elon Musk visited the flooded Thailand cave to offer a "kid-sized" submarine to help with the rescue - only to be told his technology wasn't "practical" to the mission.

Heavy rains lashed the northern Thai region late Monday and a steady downpour has continued Tuesday. "Mini-sub is ready if needed".

It had been 18 days since the members of the Wild Boars soccer team were stranded before they were all safely out of the cave. He said he left the equipment there in case rescuers could use it in the future.

On Wednesday, Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha thanked people involved in the rescue.

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