First boys rescued from Thailand cave

A military helicopter believed to be carrying rescued schoolboys takes off near Tham Luang cave complex in the northern province of Chiang Rai

Two ambulances left the cave and drove to a nearby helipad, and a helicopter was seen taking off.

The first four boys who were trapped in the cave in Thailand have been rescued and are in "perfect" health. Apart from the Thai authorities, 19 Australian divers are a part of the unsafe rescue mission.

According to Thailand's interior minister, same divers who rescued 3 students and the coach on Sunday night will conduct the next operation as they are aware of the cave conditions.

Officials said the rescue could take four days to complete. The team of young soccer players, ages 11-16, and their 25-year-old coach were stranded in the caves for almost 10 days due to flooding and their constantly evolving rescue has continued to make news headlines around the world.

One former Navy Seal died trying to help rescue 12 boys and their coach who have been trapped in a cave for almost two weeks - highlighting the inherent risks in attempting to move the boys, who are physically weak after days without food and dwindling oxygen supplies.

The mother of one of the boys said she's sleeping at the cave site as she waits for confirmation that her son was pulled from the cave.

Eight boys are still inside the cave and along with the team coach.

"Today was the best situation - in terms of the children's health, water and our rescue readiness", said Mr Narongsak, now governor of Phayao province but still head of the joint command centre coordinating the rescue.

Expert divers worked together to rescue guide the boys out through the narrow passageways of the cave.

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Four of the boys were rescued on Sunday, and authorities said the next phase could begin any time within a 10-hour window that began about 7 a.m. Monday. They got the four boys out a few hours earlier than he had predicted at his morning news conference when he announced they were going in.

"We have a fraction of a second to help them come out", the governor said. Gen. Anupong said that process could take several hours.

The operation was launched at 10 am local time (0400 CET) on Sunday and involves 13 foreign divers and 5 Thai navy SEALs.

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An ambulance leaves the Tham Luang cave area with one of the four boys extracted by divers yesterday from the complex in Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park.

Somboon Sompiangjai, 38, the father of one of the trapped boys, said parents were told by rescuers ahead of Sunday's operation the "strongest children" would be brought out first.

But with heavy rainfall overnight and more forecast for the coming days, divers will need to work quickly to free those still trapped.

But with some of them unable to swim and having no diving experience, Mr Narongsak had previously dubbed the rescue effort "Mission Impossible". Other divers were on guard along the risky first kilometer of the passageway.

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