The world is watching as the young boys from the soccer team in Thailand are now being rescued from the cave. Four more were brought from the cave Monday morning, so now there are just four boys left along with their coach.
The first boy to come out on Monday was seen on a stretcher just before 4:30 p.m. local time (5:30 a.m. ET). He was taken by helicopter to the same hospital in Chiang Rai where the first four boys rescued Sunday by a team of international and Thai dive experts are being treated.
CNN tweeted the news: “BREAKING: An 8th boy has been rescued from the Thai cave as operations to free the youth soccer team continues. Four boys and their coach remain inside the cave.”
Then two more boys left the Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex a short time later and were transferred to a medical facility on site. They were followed soon after by a fourth boy, according to the eyewitness, who is stationed at the entrance to the cave.
The 12 boys are part of a youth soccer team known as the Wild Boars. They first went missing with their coach more than two weeks ago. Last Monday they were discovered crowded on a narrow rock shelf deep within the flooded cave system.
At a news conference Monday, former Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn said the second rescue involved many of the same divers who brought the four boys out on Sunday.
Officials said late on Sunday that they would need to pause the operation for at least 10 hours to fill oxygen tanks that had been depleted during the first phase of the rescue mission.
The four boys rescued Sunday are recovering in a nearby hospital and had not yet seen their parents. A family member told CNN Monday that they hadn’t been told which boys had been rescued, and who is still trapped in the cave. The boys have to be quarantined because of the risk of infection.
Doctors are monitoring them for any illnesses they may have picked up in the cave, and supervising efforts to build up their strength after they spent more than two weeks with little food and no natural light.
“The next step is to make sure those kids and their families are safe because living in a cave has a different environment which might contains animals that could transmit any disease,” a hospital statement said.
A relative of one member of the soccer team said that the boys’ families had agreed to remain at the cave until all of the boys and the coach are brought out.
Officials said Sunday that it may “take days” to bring all 12 boys and their coach to the surface. Each boy is being accompanied by two divers and it takes hours to make their way through the flooded tunnels and through the dark, murky water.
The most dangerous part of the journey out of the cave system is the first section. They are required to squeeze through a narrow flooded channel. Rescuers need to hold the boys’ oxygen tanks in front of them and swim pencil-like through submerged holes.
Rescuers are racing to finish before the next downpour, which could further complicate efforts to remove the boys, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach.