Eight Boys Rescued from Flooded Thai Cave

Thai cave rescue route

Four boys were rescued from the underground caves on Sunday, bringing the total number of recovered children to eight.

The general leading the huge worldwide effort to rescue the young footballers and their coach thanked the god of rain for his forbearance, as the boys were guided out of the Tham Luang caves in full-face masks - easier than traditional respirators for novice divers to use - during an intense nine-hour operation. They entered the complex with their 25-year-old coach following a practice - and before a sudden heavy rainstorm hit.

When facing a particularly narrow path, the divers are releasing the tank from their backs and slowly rolling it through as they guide the boys through.

On Saturday, the Tesla CEO tweeted he had several alternative plans, but that he had agreed with his team of experts the best idea was building a small submarine "fitted for a kid".

A spokesman for Musk's Boring Co tunnelling unit, which has four engineers at the cave, said Thai officials had requested the device. On Tuesday we'll all hold our breath once more, in the hope of seeing them emerge.

Narongsak said Monday's rescues involving 18 divers and a support team of 100 had taken nine hours, two fewer than the rescues on Sunday.

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All four were airlifted to a hospital in the nearest city, Chiang Rai.

The head of the operation, Narongsak Osottanakorn, said rescuers had learned from experience and were two hours faster in bringing the second batch of survivors out.

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

Remember those soccer boys who spent more than two weeks in a Thai cave after water from heavy rain blocked their exit? Other divers were on guard along the unsafe first kilometer of the passageway.

The rescue workers need 20 hours before the third operation, Osatanakorn said Monday afternoon, according to a Guardian reporter.

The extreme danger of the rescue effort was underscored last week when a former Thai Navy SEAL, Samarn Poonan, died after he fell unconscious while placing oxygen tanks deep inside the cave.

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But Mr Narongsak said earlier that recent mild weather and falling water levels had created optimal conditions for an underwater evacuation. The message, like most posted by the SEALs, ended with the fighting cheer adopted from the US Navy: Hooyah.

In February 2011, Harris' friend Agnes, also an experienced cave diver, perished in the dark and narrow underwater passageways near Mount Gambier.

"I am very happy about those who already made it out and I think everyone will be out today", said Waranchit Karnkaew, 14, who also said the football-mad boys had been closely following games at the World Cup in Russian Federation before they were trapped.

The rescue effort has proved to be a monumental challenge.

Medical staff involved in the rescue mission said their first assessments when the boys arrived at the hospital focused on their breathing, signs of hypothermia and an airborne lung infection known as "cave disease", which is caused by bat and bird droppings and can be fatal if untreated and allowed to spread to other parts of the body.

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