Second Phase Of Thailand Rescue Pulls 4 More Boys From Cave

An ambulance exits from the Tham Luang cave area as operations continue for the 8 boys and their coach trapped at the cave in Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province

Thai authorities revealed the rescue plan of seven of 12 boys from a flooded cave in northern Thailand where they were trapped with their soccer coach for more than two weeks.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop this morning said lessons from the initial effort would be applied as two more groups of four are brought out of the cave.

Monsoon rain is forecast to lash down on Monday evening, which could raise the water levels in the cave, hampering rescue efforts. Days after the stranded team was found, a former diver in the Thai SEAL unit died after volunteering to enter the caves and place air tanks along the path.

"The mission has resumed", a government official closely involved in the mission told Reuters, declining to be identified.

The first four members of the Wild Boar soccer team were rescued Sunday and are in a hospital.

The hospital's eighth floor was reserved entirely for the soccer team, whose players range from ages 11 to 16.

The extraction of the four on Monday followed a similar pattern to the previous day, with the youngsters emerging in quick succession just before nightfall after navigating a treacherous escape route of more than four kilometres (2.5 miles) that included extremely narrow and flooded tunnels.

Rescue mission chief Narongsak Osotanakorn said Monday's rescue operation was two hours shorter than the previous one after authorities reviewed the process to make it sharper.

That left four boys and the team's coach trapped inside as the operation was called off for the day. Having completed this section, the boys are then handed over to separate, specialist rescue teams, who help assist them through the remainder of the cave, much of which they can wade through.

Thailand's Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda said the divers who took part in Sunday's rescue were also conducting the current operation.

It usually takes divers about five hours from where the boys were to reach Chamber 3, a dry point where the SEALs have set up a command post, and from which rescue officials said the boys could probably walk the rest of the way.

A search and rescue operation was mounted soon after they were reported missing, and military divers have since rescued five of the boys.

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There was no word on the condition of any of the people brought out on Monday.

The rescued boys were being treated by medics at the field hospital, and were later airlifted to a larger nearby hospital.

The freed boys are yet to meet their parents, who late Sunday night were yet to be told which of their sons had been removed, according to the UK's Guardian.

They are being kept separate from their families at present because of infection fears, authorities said.

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

"I'm hoping for good news".

Soldiers arrive outside the Tham Luang cave complex in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand, July 8, 2018.

Progress came more easily on Monday, with replenished oxygen tanks and tightened guide ropes.

"Everything is all good - weather, water and the boys' conditions", he said, adding, "We will speed up [the operation]".

Even their mothers and fathers have been unable to visit them.

And he has been true to his word, sending some of his top engineers to Thailand to help with the rescue, saying: "There are probably many complexities that are hard to appreciate without being there in person". Kanet said the boys will be treated as disaster victims and given psychological evaluations and other assistance after their ordeal.

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