Eight boys now rescued from flooded Thai cave

Four of the boys were brought to safety on the second day of the operation

Eight boys now rescued from flooded Thai cave

Rescuers work near the cave where 12 young soccer team members and their coach were trapped in Chiang Rai, Thailand, 08-007-2018. Image: Chiang Rai pr office/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

Updated 18.15

Eight of the boys who had been trapped in a cave in Thailand have now been rescued, officials have confirmed.

The four boys rescued on the second day of the operation were brought to hospital after exiting the cave.

The rescue effort has now been paused for the night, leaving four boys and their football coach left in the cave system.

A Thai army commander said today's operation went "smoothly", but warned the next phase "will depend on all conditions" with rain forecast for the coming week.

He asked for three more days to complete the rescue mission.

Picture by: Rachen Sageamsak/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

Four others were successfully brought to safety yesterday, more than two weeks after their ordeal began.

They are described as being in "good health" in hospital, while the condition of those rescued is not yet known.

The health of those left in the cave is said to be 'still good'.

Earlier, the head of the mission, Narongsak Osottanakorn, gave an update on how the children rescued on Sunday are doing.

“This morning they said they were hungry and asked for minced pork and basil fried rice,” he said.

“They still need to be kept away from their parents and others for fear of infection.”

Officials have said they are battling a "war with water and time" to save the team - warning it could be two to four days before all 13 are brought to safety. Among them are weak swimmers and children as young as 11.

Thai Navy SEAL announcement: "The fourth wild boar is out of the cave."

Each of the four boys rescued on Sunday were accompanied by two expert divers as they were gradually extracted.

Their only way out was through dark, tight passageways filled with muddy water and strong currents - perilous conditions that claimed the life of a former Thai navy SEAL earlier this week.

One diver told Reuters: "It's dangerous to the most experienced divers to go through. It's pretty scary."

After leaving the Tham Luang cave, the boys were flown by helicopter to the nearby city of Chiang Rai, where ambulances took them to hospital.

Pressure

Five emergency doctors were awaiting their arrival, with a source at the hospital telling Reuters: "The teams here are happy the boys are being rescued but also anxious about the severity of the boys' conditions. We're under a lot of pressure."

Governor Narongsak said the condition of those still trapped is a constant concern, telling reporters: "Divers will work with doctors in the cave to examine each the kids' health to determine who should get to come out first."

At the end of Sunday's rescue efforts - described as "D-Day" by one official - Thai navy SEALs wrote on Facebook: "Have sweet dreams everyone. Goodnight. Hooyah."

Undated photo released by the Thailand Navy SEAL Facebook page shows rescuers hands locked with a caption reading "We Thai and the international teams join forces to bring the young Wild Boars home," 08-07-2018.

Mission

A total of 90 divers are involved in the operation and 50 of them are foreign, some of them from the UK.

The boys went missing after football practice with their 25-year-old coach on 23rd June.

They had set out on an adventure to explore the cave - reportedly for a picnic to celebrate one of their birthdays.

Thai soldiers try to connect water pipes that will help bypass water from entering ther cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach are trapped, 07-07-2018. Image:  Sakchai Lalit/AP/Press Association Images

Water levels

Bursts of monsoon rain caused the water inside the cave to rise, leaving them trapped.

Millions of litres of water have been pumped out in recent days, but experts have warned that further downpours could shrink the unflooded space where the boys are sheltering to just 10 square metres (108 square feet).

Governor Narongsak warned: “Finding the boys doesn't mean we have finished our mission. It is only a small battle we have won, but the war has not ended.”

“The war ends when we win all three battles - the battles to search, rescue and send them home.”

Additional reporting by IRN