Thai Cave Rescue: Sixth Boy Leaves, Six Soccer Players and Coach Remain


Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop has said today she believes the boys will be rescued in groups of four.

Giving an update on the four boys pulled from the cave Sunday, Narongsak said, "This morning, they said they were hungry and wanted to eat khao pad grapao" - a popular Thai rice dish of meat stir-fried with basil and chili peppers.

The four boys pulled from the cave Sunday in an urgent and unsafe operation that involved them diving through the cave's dark, tight and twisting passages were happy and in good health, authorities said.

The unsafe bid to rescue the boys - aged between 11 and 16 - got going again hours earlier on Monday after a break to replenish oxygen supplies and make other preparations deep inside the cave complex.

The rescue teams had rehearsed the plan for several days, Narongsak said, and had managed to drain the water level in the cave considerably, but needed to move fast.

Rescuers on Monday shaved two hours off their initial estimate for how long it would take to get the boys out, with the operation starting at 11 a.m. and the first soccer player emerging around 4:30 p.m. local time.

The boys were rescued as part of an operation that officials said began at 11am. After the boys emerge from the cave, they will be taken in an ambulance to be evacuated from the cave site via helicopter, provided weather conditions are safe for flying.

Eight more boys and their 25-year-old coach remain in the cave complex, where they have been trapped since Jun 23.

Narongsak said more personnel were being used in the rescue on Monday.

Ivan Karadzic, a Danish dive instructor who lives in Thailand and who was involved in the rescue effort of the four people on Sunday as a support diver, said late that night that "it went surprisingly well, we were expecting bad things to happen, and they didn't".

The remaining boys and their coach are expected to have to wait at least another day before rescuers continue extraction attempts.

CNN notes: "To reach the boys, divers must navigate a series of dark, flooded tunnels for up to six hours".

The death Friday of a former Thai navy SEAL, Saman Gunan, underscored the risks.

Rescue operations had initially been put on hold to ensure the boys had regained enough strength to make the treacherous 3.2km trek out of the caves.

Meanwhile, Musk's team of SpaceX engineers created a "tiny, kid-size submarine using the liquid oxygen transfer tube of Falcon rocket as hull".

Rescuers found them huddled on top of a dry rock about 2.5 miles from the cave's entrance after nine days of searching.

Authorities have so far refused to release the identities or conditions of the four who have escaped.

Rescuers have been navigating a unsafe and complicated plan to get the children out under the threat of heavy rain and rising water underground.

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.