Thailand cave operation called off for day with 8 now rescued

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Fighting time, high waters, divers prepare to rescue second group of Thai boys from cave

The eighth boy from a group of 12 who have been trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand for more than two weeks has been rescued.

The boys became trapped in the cave on 23 June after heavy rains caused flooding, but were found alive last week by divers.

Eight of the 12 boys trapped in a flooded and labyrinth cave system in far northern Thailand are safe and recuperating in a hospital after another four were brought out by divers on the second day of a high-stakes rescue operation, a top official said.

However, the experience can't be comfortable, and I don't even want to begin to imagine what it must be like for the person inside that narrow space, especially being a kid who's been trapped in that mountain for more than two weeks.

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.

Two boys were brought out on Monday afternoon from a deep cave in Thailand where four were rescued on Sunday, leaving just six more and their soccer coach inside, a military source said. Authorities have said extracting the entire team from the cave could take up to four days, but Sunday's success raised hopes that it could be done faster. Seven boys remain trapped inside with their coach.

Authorities said a medical team was assessing whether to reunite the boys with their parents soon.

Although the rescued eight were all presumed to be the boys, aged between 11 and 16, authorities did not reveal their identities nor confirm whether the coach remained inside the cave.

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Following the successful evacuation on Sunday, rescue personnel assessed their performance and adjusted the plan for Monday, resulting in "a smooth, coordinated operation", deputy commander of the Third Army Maj Gen Chalongchai Chaiyakham told reporters. On Sunday, four boys were safely evacuated from the cave.

Ivan Karadzic, a Danish dive instructor who lives in Thailand and who was involved in the rescue effort of the four people on Sunday as a support diver, said late that night that "it went surprisingly well, we were expecting bad things to happen, and they didn't".

Chiang Rai health officials have told the Thai media that the families of the children can see them later tonight but "no hugging, no kissing" until their blood results are known.

The cave complex is off-limits during the rainy season, which usually runs from May to October when downpours can quickly flood it.

"We have not been told which child has been brought out ..."

Expert climbers, divers and Thai Navy Seals have mulled contingencies ranging from drilling an escape route through the mountain to waiting out the monsoon inside the cave.

"The weather conditions and other environments today are as good as yesterday". Kanet said the boys will be treated as disaster victims and given psychological evaluations and other assistance after their ordeal.

Among those are USA military partners, British cave diving experts - including the two men who first located the boys a week ago - and rescue workers from Australia, China and other countries.

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