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11 July 2018, 01:01 | Darnell Patrick
Rescue operations will resume today after a 10 hour hiatus
Thai navy SEALs said they successfully retrieved four members of the youth soccer team out from the cave where they had been trapped for more than two weeks. Around 5 p.m. local time (6 a.m. ET), six hours after the second phase of the operation began, the first ambulance left the cave area and headed toward a helicopter, which landed at a nearby hospital.
Narongsak Osatanakorn, the head of the joint command centre coordinating the operation said: "The factors are as good as yesterday ... We have set the plan for four people so if they want to take five out (at the same time), then they need to change the plan". "And we will do it faster because we are afraid of the rain". Four boys and their coach remained inside the cave.
Workers have been working around the clock to pump water out of the cave, and authorities said Monday that heavy downpours overnight did not raise water levels inside.
Earlier Monday, Narongsak said the four rescued the day before were in good spirits. "We have to quarantine them for a little while due to fear of infection".
Anupong said divers need to place more air canisters along the underwater route, adding, that part of the process could take several hours.
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 teams had installed a static rope along the dive path, giving the boys a guide, and experienced divers were reportedly positioned at various points along the way for assistance.
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha was expected to visit the cave site later Monday, after first travelling south to Phuket, where a boat capsizing resulted in 42 deaths, mostly tourists from China.
"We'll start preparing for the next rescue operation, and we believe we'll do better than today and it will be highly successful", the rescue mission chief said.
Wearing full-face masks, which are easier for novice divers than traditional respirators, each boy is being accompanied by two divers, who also carry his air supply. None of those kids will have to spend any time inside the tiny submarine, but it could be developed further for similar rescue missions in the future.
Acting Chiang Rai Gov. Narongsak Osottanakorn said the boys were "conscious and safe" and that the operation went smoothly. They and were in good condition in hospital, officials said.
A total of eight boys were removed from the cave on Sunday and Monday.
Earlier reports said three had already reached Chamber 3, the main base for divers inside the camp. Experts say it's crucial for their survival that the remaining boys are told of the positive news.
Last night, Thai navy SEALs posted a celebratory note on their Facebook page, saying: "Have sweet dreams everyone".
Whilst four boys and their coach remain trapped in the flooded cave system awaiting rescue, the freed members of the soccer team have been quarantined in their own hospital ward. Monsoon flooding blocked their exit route and prevented rescuers from reaching them for almost 10 days.
CNN reported that the rescue operation had resumed.
Kittichok Kankeaw, a teammate of Nattawut Takamsai, one of the trapped boys, said he would try to assist his friend to catch up at school.
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