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11 July 2018, 12:07 | Erica Roy
4 freed from Thailand cave, but rescuers face 'war with water and time' to get to others
The fifth boy was taken by helicopter to Chiangrai Prachanukroh Hospital in the provincial capital Chiang Rai, while the sixth remained inside a medical tent before being moved.
Narongsak described Sunday's initial rescue bid as "D-Day" when it was launched, and there were fears that any one of many potential pitfalls could prove deadly.
Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda had said early Monday that the same group of expert divers who took part in Sunday's rescue would return to extricate the others because they know the cave conditions and what to do.
The billionaire entrepreneur has been tweeting proposals and offering his services to the Thai government in its efforts to extract the 12 boys and their soccer coach from a partially flooded cave. Decker, whose wife is Thai, said the current rescue might be the most complicated, involving tight spaces, low oxygen levels and limited availability of electricity.
As of Monday morning, eight boys and their coach remained in the cave where they have been trapped by floods since June 23.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha visited the cave to inspect the operation, with navy rescuers giving him a rousing cheer.
Authorities declined to say how many boys would be extracted on Monday. Relatives were able to see them through a glass partition, the governor said.
Getting to and from where the boys are has been an exhausting round trip, even for the experienced divers. Two divers were assigned to each child to help them navigate the unsafe, narrow passageways.
Divers held the first four boys close to bring them out and each had to wear an oxygen mask, authorities said. He added that the rescue mission today was the "best situation".
Officials said the boys freed Sunday were hungry but in good health, and had asked for holy basil stir-fried rice, a popular Thai dish. Though they are visibly skinny and weak, the boys and their coach appear to be in good spirits, smiling for the camera as the SEALs crack jokes. "It's probably 90 percent of what gets them out of the cave".
A heavy but brief downpour hit the area Monday morning, but authorities said that did not change the water level in the cave, as workers continued to pump water out. Divers guided them though more than two miles of dark and narrow tunnels filled with murky water and strong currents.
Monday's rescue effort took about nine hours, two fewer than the day before, in a sign of growing confidence and expertise.
Former Thai navy SEAL Saman Kunan passed out making the dive on Friday and died.
The world has been hooked on the fate of the group of Thai boys trapped in a cave and the heroic attempts to rescue them.
An ambulance leaves from the Tham Luang cave area as the operations continue for those still trapped inside the cave in Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province on July 10, 2018.
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