4 rescued from Thai cave in risky operation; 9 left

4 rescued from Thai cave in risky operation; 9 left

4 rescued from Thai cave in risky operation; 9 left

Four members of a youth soccer team trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand were rescued Sunday by a group of 13 specialist divers and five Thai Navy SEALs.

They were guided by expert divers who plotted the hours-long escape through more than four kilometres (2.5 miles) of twisting passageways and flooded chambers.

They were followed shortly afterwards by four others, leading to an explosion of jubilation on social media in Thailand and around the world as the rescued boys were rushed to hospital.

The rescue mission began after rain showers soaked the Tham Luang Cave area in northern Chiang Rai province for the past 24 hours, heightening the risks in what the governor has called a "war with water and time" to save the team.

"Six of them came out", a defence ministry official, who asked not to be named, told AFP. A former Thai navy SEAL passed out making the dive Friday and died.

Last month, twelve members of the Wild Boars soccer team-and their 25-year-old coach-became trapped in the flooded cave when they went exploring after soccer practice.

Officials said Sunday morning that "today is D-Day".

"It's highly risky, it's very precarious and our thoughts are not only with the boys but also with the diving and rescue teams that are assisting", Bishop told the Nine network on Monday. Their ordeal has drawn huge media attention in Thailand and overseas, and getting the boys out safely could be a boost for Thailand's ruling junta ahead of a general election next year.

It was initially thought the first four boys to make the journey would be those in the most resilient physical shape. But Narongsak said earlier that mild weather and falling water levels over the last few days had created optimal conditions for an underwater evacuation that won't last if it rains again. "They have not been moved to Chiang Rai hospital yet".

The group was found dishevelled and hungry by British cave diving specialists nine days after they ventured in. "Finding the boys doesn't mean we've finished our mission".

In the early hours of Saturday morning, he said the boys were not yet ready to dive out of the cave, a complex and unsafe task through twisting and jagged submerged passageways.

An worldwide team of rescuers is working diligently to extricate the youth soccer team trapped in a flooded cave in northern Thailand.

Musk tweeted that he was working with a team from his Space X rocket company to build a "tiny kid-size submarine" to transport the boys.

As the monsoon rains begin, water is being pumped out of the caves and a plan is being developed to bring them to safety.

The mission reportedly paused due to depleted oxygen levels in the cave.

Experts say a rescue mission through a flooded cave is risky enough for professionals, let alone young boys who have never dived before.

Divers have previously described conditions in the cave network as some of the most extreme they have ever faced. I miss you dearly.

One particularly touching note from another boy said: "I'm doing fine, but the air is a little cold, but don't worry".

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