Sixth boy out of Thai cave, officials vow to ‘speed up’ operation

International teams join forces to bring the young Wild Boars home

On Sunday, teams of divers brought out four of the trapped boys but waited several hours before confirming their safe rescue.

Around 20 Australians have been involved in rescue efforts to free 12 boys and their soccer coach from a Thai cave.

The boys, who are in the Wild Boars soccer team, have captured hearts around the world as images of their smiling faces emerged from within the cave as they fought for their lives.

The four boys pulled from the cave Sunday in an urgent and unsafe operation that involved them diving through the cave's dark, tight and twisting passages were happy and in good health, authorities said.

The rescue started at 10 am Thai time and involved 13 worldwide divers and five Thai navy seals, who were described by Governor Narongsak as "an all-star team", reports the Daily Mail.

The eight boys freed from the cave were quickly transferred to Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital, where they were put in isolation to determine they are clear of infection, the Guardian reported. Monsoon flooding blocked off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for nearly 10 days.

Unconfirmed reports that the boys' coach, Ekapol Chanthawong, 25, was among the first four to be evacuated because of the poor state of his health, were dismissed on Monday.

The names of the rescued boys have not been released out of respect for the families whose sons were still inside, and they have not been reunited with their own families, he added. Nine people remained trapped in the cave, including the team's coach, as of Monday morning.

A total of four ambulances have left the area around the flooded cave in northern Thailand where members of a youth soccer team have been trapped for more than two weeks, suggesting eight of the 13 trapped people have now been extracted.

Narongsak Osatanakorn, the head of the joint command centre coordinating the operation, said: "We are so happy that today we could rescue another four kids".




The extreme danger of the rescue effort was underscored last week when a former Thai Navy SEAL, Samarn Poonan, died after he fell unconscious while placing oxygen tanks deep inside the cave.

The Thai official leading the operation to save the 12 boys and their coach from the flooded cave in northern Thailand said the rescue has been going "better than expected". They were in good condition in hospital, officials said.

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

According to the Associated Press, a Thai official revealed that the healthiest boys were taken out of the cave first.

That sense of accomplishment was also reflected in the message posted Monday night on the Thai Navy SEALS's Facebook page announcing the latest rescues.

"I beg Phra Pirun because the Meteorological Department said that from Monday on there will be continuous rain", Major General Bancha Duriyapan said.

Weather forecasters warned heavy rain could hit the area through the week. "And we have more expertise than yesterday", he said.

He also tweeted that SpaceX and Boring Co. engineers were headed to Thailand to see whether they could assist Thai authorities.

But then oxygen started running low in the cave, and officials also anxious the little piece of real estate the boys and their coach have could be lost.

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