Thai authorities say four more boys have arrived safely at the hospital following their rescue after having been trapped in a flooded cave for more than two weeks.
A total of eight boys have now been rescued. The head of the Thai rescue operation told reporters that the mission Monday went smoothly, and has asked for three more days to rescue the remaining four boys and their coach from the Tham Luang caves. The acting governor of Chiang Rai state, Narongsak Osatanakorn, said that divers are unsure whether all five can be rescued in one or more missions.
"8 boars in 2 days. Hooyah," the Thai Navy SEALS wrote on their Facebook page Monday, referring to the boys' soccer team, the Wild Boars.
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrived in Chiang Rai and visited the eight rescued boys in the hospital Monday night, according to Osatanakorn.
The rescued boys were airlifted to the Chiagrai Prachanukroh Hospital in Chiang Rai after initial treatment at a field hospital near the caves, and the four boys rescued Sunday were said to be "in good condition."
Narongsak also said Monday that the condition of the five remaining people in the cave is "still good".
The children's families have not been told which boys have been rescued.
Interior Minister Anupong Paojina said the same divers who participated in Sunday's rescue conducted the operation Monday because they are familiar with the cave conditions. The boys and their coach have been stranded about four kilometers inside the cave.
Following the initial rescues Sunday, the operation was paused for about 10 hours while divers replenished air tanks along the exit tunnel.
Thirteen international divers and five Thai Navy SEALs are involved in the operation.
One volunteer, former Thai Navy SEAL Saman Gunan, died Friday while placing spare air tanks along the escape route. He ran out of air trying to swim out of the cave.
None of the trapped boys has ever been diving before and some do not even know how to swim. Two divers are helping each one make his way through very narrow tunnels that twist and turn, and filled with dark muddy water. It takes the divers about eight hours to get into the cave, reach the boys, and bring them back out.
The divers also brought out touching notes for the families written by some of the trapped boys.
One boy asked for a fried chicken dinner. Another reminded his parents not to forget his birthday party, while a third said he misses his entire family, but described himself as "happy."
The anxious families say they have forgiven 25-year-old soccer coach Ekapol Chanthawong who led the boys on what was supposed to be an innocent adventure in cave exploring more than two weeks ago.
Monsoon rains have started falling again, causing water levels inside the cave to rise, squeezing the boys in an ever shrinking space inside the cave, and causing oxygen levels to drop.
The experts say if the boys are not rescued over the next few days, they may have to wait inside the cave for months before the rains ease up and another rescue attempt is made.
Source: Voice of America