Thai official: 4 boys brought out of cave Monday

Family members of the boys trapped in the cave are questioned by the media

Authorities have said extracting the entire team from the cave could take up to four days, but two straight days of success raised hopes that it could be done faster.

While the governor would not confirm the identities of the four boys, he said the first one emerged at 5:40 p.m. local time (6.40 a.m. ET), followed by the second boy 10 minutes later.

Thirteen foreign divers and five members of Thailand's elite Seal unit made up the main team guiding the boys to safety through narrow, submerged passageways. Authorities have repeatedly said the rain could re-flood crucial parts of the cave complex that have been drained and make the escape route march harder or even impossible to navigate.

"The operation went much better than expected", mission head Narongsak Osottanakorn said on Sunday. 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.

The boy is part of a group who went into the Tham Luang cave more than two weeks ago. The rescued children were taken to the hospital, and officials said early Monday that they are strong and safe but need to undergo detailed medical checks.

Police and military personnel use umbrellas to cover a stretcher as it is carried to a helicopter from an ambulance at a military airport in Chiang Rai, Thailand, on Monday, as rescue operations continue for those still trapped inside the cave in Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in the Mae Sai district.

Narongsak said experts told him the new rain could shrink the unflooded space where the boys are sheltering to 108 square feet.




The urgent and risky effort has involved the boys diving through the cave's tight and twisting passages, guided by experienced divers.

Among the ideas were drilling an escape route through the mountain, or leaving them for months until the monsoon season ended and the flooding subsided.

"The water level is not worrisome ... yesterday's rain did not affect water levels inside the cave".

Authorities have not revealed at this stage when the rescue operation would resume for the remaining four boys and their coach, who have been trapped in the cave since June 23.

Thai public television has aired live video of a medivac helicopter landing close to a hospital in the city of Chiang Rai, near the site of the cave where a youth soccer team has been trapped for more than two weeks. There was no word on the condition of the fifth boy brought out earlier on Monday. Relatives were able to see them through a glass partition, Narongsak said. Divers have taught the boys to breathe through full-face scuba gear for the areas they must swim underwater. He added, "They still need to be kept away from their parents and others due to fear about infection".

Monday's operation began at 11am and took nine hours, two fewer than Sunday, with rescuers helped by the experience they've accumulated, said Narongsak Osotthanakorn told a news conference punctuated with rounds of applause.

"Everything is all good - weather, water and the boys' conditions", he said, adding, "We will speed up [the operation]".

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