Rescuers remove one more from Thai cave

Onlookers watch and cheer during the rescue operation

The second phase of the rescue mission began around 11 a.m. local time (midnight ET) and took several hours.

However, unlike Sunday and Monday when only four were brought out each day due to logistical constraints, rescuers would try to extract all of the remaining five in one operation, Narongsak said. Jesada said they were uncertain what type of infections the boys could face "because we have never experienced this kind of issue from a deep cave".

It appears that the team were going into the cave as part of an initiation ceremony which tasked the boys with reaching the end of the cave and returning having written their names on the far wall.

Authorities had said that incoming monsoon rains that could send water levels in the cave rising, coupled with falling oxygen levels in the enclosed space, added to the urgency of getting those trapped out.

US Embassy Bangkok spokesman Steve Castonguay said: "The US will remain here to continue to support this operation until all the soccer players and their coach have been rescued".

The first four boys were rescued on Sunday and are in a stable condition in hospital.

Video provided by rescuers shows the first four boys being stretchered out of Tham Luang cave complex, where they had been trapped since Jun 23.

There was no immediate word on their conditions. Touching on some of the challenges of the complex extraction, the interior minister told reporters on Monday the rescue team needed adequate rest in between dives and had to replace oxygen tanks along the route. Previously, the entire round trip through the cave network was thought to take about 11 hours.

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After his visit, he went to Chiangrai Prachanukroh Hospital to visit the rescued boys.

That makes for eight of the 13 people who have been trapped under increasingly unsafe conditions since late last month.

Meanwhile, Thailand's weather department said there was a 60 percent chance of rain on Monday with thunderstorms forecast throughout the week. Billionaire tech entrepreneur Elon Musk was the latest to pitch in. If the tests were successful, the sub was to be placed on a 17-hour flight to Thailand.

Over the weekend, the first boys were rescued but the process is slow and exhausting. Four came out Monday, and it is possible Tuesday's plan was to bring out four more. Two divers were assigned to each child to help them navigate the unsafe, narrow passageways. They got trapped in the cave after a sudden spell of heavy rains blocked the entrance of the cave.

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. They are then taken to hospital in Chiang Rai. "We heard four boys are out but we do not know who they are".

But with oxygen levels inside dropping to risky lows and the prospect of heavy rains flooding the area completely, authorities decided they had to move quickly and take the group out through the water-filled tunnels.

Four more boys and their coach remain trapped inside the Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex.

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