Eight boys rescued from cave in northern Thailand

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Officials said on Sunday that it may "take days" to rescue all 12 boys and their coach.

The aide, Sitthichai Klangpattana, refused to comment on the boys' health or the operation, which has wrapped up for the day.

Chiang Rai Gov.Narongsak Osatanakorn said Tuesday's rescue operation began at 10.08 a.m. and involves 19 divers. "I'm hoping for good news", he added.

The eight boys brought out by divers over the previous two days were doing well and were in good spirits, a senior health official said.

The final four boys and the coach are en route to join the rest of the team in hospital, where they are being treated in isolation.

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"The water level is not worrisome ... yesterday's rain did not affect water levels inside the cave". Relatives were able to see them through a glass partition.

The boys and their coach had been stranded in Tham Luang Nang Non since June 23 when they went exploring in the cave after a scrimmage.

The four boys, rescued on Sunday, were flown by helicopter from the Tham Luang cave to the Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital, located at the heart of Chiang Rai province, about 70 km (40 miles) away.

Narongsak said the operation on Monday started about two hours earlier than was expected, after all the procedures and equipment were either redeployed or replaced.

Ninety divers-40 from Thailand and 50 from global group of divers-are part of the rescue operation though not all have gone in.

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The effort to save the boys and their coach has involved both foreign divers and members of an elite Thai navy unit.

British divers discovered the 13, huddled on a muddy bank in a partly flooded chamber deep several kilometres inside the complex, on Monday last week.

"Think about the responsibility of taking a kid under/beneath there and the conditions are really scary", said rescuer Rafael Aroush. On top of all the concerns inside the cave, Thailand's rainy season is looming.

"They have had to make a quick decision because they are really concerned about the water level rising".

Officials have yet to confirm the identities of the four boys freed. He said it was out of respect for the families whose sons were still trapped in the cave. Two of them possibly have a lung infection but all eight are generally "healthy and smiling", he said. An eye witness told Reuters that the four people were carried out by medical personnel to waiting ambulances.

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