Four boys out of cave, rescue operation to continue

6 Thai Boys Rescued After Over 2 Weeks In Flooded Cave

Six of the twelve boys trapped in the cave in Thailand have been rescued according to the local officials.

18 divers, 13 foreign and five from Thailand, reportedly entered the cave system at around 10am local time.

A Thai official says the next phase of the operation to rescue the rest of the trapped boys will begin in 10 to 20 hours as rescuers replenish their oxygen tanks.

Officials say the quickest time that the boys could be brought out of the cave is 9pm local time (3pm United Kingdom time) on Sunday, and the mission could take up to four days.

Some took time on Sunday to pay tribute to Saman Gunan, a Thai Navy SEAL who died while trying to ensure the boys had enough oxygen.

Narongsak said that "everything went smoothly", but it was unclear when the others would be freed.

The boys had to navigate through flooded passages that are no more than two feet wide in some areas.

Narongsak, the rescue mission chief, determined that the latter option was "impossible", as the tunnels are unlikely to dry out before December.

Divers are guiding the boys in darkness through tight and hard passageways.

The daring and unsafe bid to rescue the boys - aged between 11 and 16 - was suspended by the mission chief late on Sunday to replenish oxygen supplies and make new preparations, which he said would take at least 10 hours.

As of Sunday, four boys were confirmed rescued from the cave, before the mission was paused, according to the BBC.

The 12 boys have been trapped in the cave along with their 25-year-old coach since 23 June, after rising water levels trapped them inside.

■ While the rescue was expected to take a few days, the first boy came out at 5:40 pm (4:10 pm IST).

Chiang Rai provincial acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn said the four healthiest boys were taken from the cave first.

The rescue operation has been put on hold until today while compressed air tanks are replaced.

Monsoon flooding cut off their escape route and prevented rescuers from finding them for nearly 10 days.

The other, and perhaps more worrying, was that oxygen levels in the complex were falling close to unsafe levels.

Thirteen medical teams were stationed outside the cave on Sunday - each with its own helicopter and ambulance - one for each of 12 boys and their coach.

Thailand's rainy season began on May 26 but the cave where the boys are trapped is located in the country's north, which gets much less rain than the south.

But with some of them unable to swim and having no diving experience, Mr Narongsak had previously dubbed the rescue effort "Mission Impossible". Authorities have said the soccer players are being looked after by Thai navy SEALs, including medics, staying with them inside the cave.

To ensure a clear path for getting evacuees to the hospital and to safeguard their privacy, authorities ordered the media to move away from the cave before the boys came out.

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