Amid jubilation, 4 more boys rescued from flooded Thai cave

Richard William Stanton Robert Charles Harper and John Volanthen

Divers have begun the third phase of the rescue of a youth soccer team trapped more than two weeks in a flooded cave in northern Thailand and aim to bring out the last four boys and their coach Tuesday, the top rescue official said.

At a news conference, Jedsada Chokdumrongsuk, permanent secretary at the Public Health Ministry, said the first four boys rescued, aged 12 to 16, are now able to eat normal food, though they can't yet take the spicy dishes favored by many Thais.

The head of the operation, Narongsak Osottanakorn, said rescuers had learned from experience and were two hours faster in bringing the second batch of survivors out.

He added that the divers were the "same multinational team" that rescued the four boys on Sunday.

By Monday night, elite divers had managed to bring out eight members of the football team which included 12 boys and their 25-year-old coach.

Graphics explaining how the divers managed to rescue the four boys have been circulating on social media.

Rescued schoolboys are moved from a military helicopter to an awaiting ambulance at a military airport in Chiang Rai, Thailand, July 9, 2018.

He said two of them possibly have a lung infection but all eight are generally "healthy and smiling".

They are assisting in transporting the evacuees through the final chambers of the cave system, and are providing medical personnel and other technical assistance to the rescue efforts, he added.

Gen.Prayut also thanked Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, for offering his help to the trapped boy footballers and their coach.

An worldwide team of rescuers has been in Thailand since the discovery of the stranded football team and their coach, assisting the Thai Navy SEALs in their rescue efforts.

The group were discovered by British divers 10 days later and rescue operations have been accelerated after further monsoon conditions were predicted. "But we will manage to get them a TV for that [watching the World Cup final]".

One of soccer's most popular teams, Manchester United, expressed its relief over the rescue and invited the boys and their coach, as well as those who saved them, to come see the team play on their home ground this season. Authorities have said the mission could take up to four days to complete and heavy rain is forecast in the coming days.

He also shared pictures and video of engineers testing the mini sub in a Los Angeles pool - maneuvering the device through simulated passageways.

The eight rescued boys were recuperating in a hospital from their ordeal huddled together on a tiny patch of higher ground where they had sought refuge after a rainstorm flooded the massive Tham Luan Nang Non cave complex as they were exploring it after soccer practice on June 23.

The submarine is named "Wild Boar" after the name of the football team.

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