Thailand cave operation called off for day with 8 now rescued

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The four boys rescued Sunday were receiving medical treatment at a hospital in Chiang Rai, around 35 miles away.

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.

Rescue operations chief Narongsak Osottanakorn described Sunday's initial rescue bid as "D-Day" when it was launched, and there were fears that any one of many potential pitfalls could prove deadly.

Interior Minister Anupong Paojina said the same divers who participated in Sunday's rescue conducted the operation Monday because they are familiar with the cave conditions.

The Thai Navy Seal unit celebrated the successful rescue of members of the Wild Boars football team, writing on their official Facebook page: "2 days, 8 Wild Boars".

Among those are United States military partners, British cave diving experts - including the two men who first located the boys a week ago - and rescue workers from Australia, China and other countries.

In all, 12 boys and their coach had been stuck in the Tham Luang cave network since June 23, when water levels partially flooded the escape routes. The four evacuated on Monday were also hospitalized, although their condition was not announced.

The Guardian reported that the four boys who were rescued last night are in good overall health and should be able to see their families later today, according to a key health official. "Their re-entry into the world outside the cave will predictably be one of massive attention from family, friends and the media", Auerbach said, noting it could be overwhelming.

The boys' nightmare experience - trapped in claustrophobic darkness by rising waters - resonated across the globe, riveting people both in Thailand and internationally who anxiously watched the news coming from this town along the border with Myanmar.

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"The medical team is considering whether to let closest relative visit them", Osotthanakorn said.

Four more boys and the coach remain in the cave.

The boys, ages 11-16, and their 25-year-old coach became stranded when they went exploring inside after a practice game.

Officials lavished praise on the Thai and worldwide divers who, in pairs of two, executed the risky rescue mission, guiding the boys, who could barely swim and had no diving experience, through a treacherous 2½-mile-long escape route that twisted and turned through the cavern. There were several concerns that prompted authorities to move forward with the plan to dive the boys out. Though they are visibly skinny and weak, the boys and their coach appear to be in good spirits, smiling for the camera as the SEALs crack jokes. The death Friday of a former Thai navy SEAL underscored the risks.

Thai authorities say they have resumed operations to rescue members of a boys' soccer team trapped in a flooded cave after successfully getting four of the boys out on Sunday.

He had said fresh air tanks needed to be laid along the underwater route. They were accompanied by professional divers throughout.

"The Prime Minister wants this to be a lesson, this should not happen again in Thailand", Narongsak said.

Police and military personnel shield the fifth survivor with umbrellas as he is transported on a stretcher at a military airport in Chiang Rai, Thailand, on Monday.

Less than an hour earlier, an ambulance with flashing lights had left the cave complex, hours after the start of the second phase of an operation to rescue the soccer team.

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