Eight boys rescued from flooded Thai caves, now up to 'rain god'

Richard William Stanton Robert Charles Harper and John Volanthen

Richard William Stanton Robert Charles Harper and John Volanthen

Karadzic lauded the boys as incredibly strong individuals, given the fact that they were trapped inside the cave and could not be with their loved ones for over two weeks.

"They are all in good spirits and happy to be out", Jedsada Chokdamrongsuk, permanent secretary of the public health ministry, told reporters. "But we will have a psychiatrist to evaluate them".

Rescued schoolboys are moved from a military helicopter to an awaiting ambulance at a military airport in Chiang Rai, Thailand, July 9, 2018.

The global soccer federation, FIFA, had already invited the boys to attend the World Cup final in Russia this Sunday.

Some family members have been allowed to visit the boys in hospital, but are only allowed to observe them from behind a glass window.

The emergence of the second batch of four on Monday evening was greeted with a simple "Hooyah" by the Thai SEAL team on their Facebook page, an exclamation that lit up Thai social media.

The mission to rescue the 12 boys and their football coach, who had become trapped in a series of caves in Thailand, continues today.

Narongsak Osottanakorn told a news conference the latest rescue operation began at about 10:08 am local time.

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It's been comfortable for them, but when it's comfortable you can get sloppy. He also added: "You were talking about the final".

To date, each rescued boy has been escorted through the labyrinthine cave by two divers, each of them holding an oxygen tank that feeds to the survivor's mask.

But with oxygen levels inside dropping to unsafe lows and the prospect of heavy rains flooding the area completely, authorities decided they had to move quickly and take the group out through the water-filled tunnels.

Authorities have been rushing to extract the boys, aged 11-16, and their coach from the cave as the annual monsoon bears down on the mountainous region in far northern Chiang Rai province. They'll also be bringing back 3 Navy SEALS and a medic who have been in the cave with the team since the first day of the rescue efforts.

Alluding to that worry, the regional army commander offered his thanks on Monday to the rain god Phra Pirun, imploring him to "keep showing us mercy".

For the final operation tomorrow, Mr Narongsak said the rescuers would use the same plan with some adjustments because the number of survivors to be extracted would be five instead of four as was the case for the last two days.

"The prime minister said that this kind of event should never happen again on Thai soil", Narongsak said.

Workers have been laboring around the clock to pump water out of the cave, and officials said Monday that despite heavy downpours overnight, water levels inside the cave did not rise.

Four were rescued on Sunday and another four were rescued in a faster operation on Monday, after two weeks trapped in the cave complex in north-western Thailand. "But if the rain god doesn't help, then it could be challenging".

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