First boys emerge from cave

One of two ambulances leave the cave in northern Thailand hours after operation began to rescue the trapped soccer players and their coach

First boys emerge from cave

Four of 12 Thai schoolboys were rescued from a flooded cave on Sunday in a daring and risky operation to save the children and their soccer coach who have been trapped underground for more than two weeks.

It was initially thought the first four boys to make the journey would be those in the most resilient physical shape. An entire floor of the 14-story hospital has been reserved for treating the soccer team, according to local media reports.

The rescue operation will now pause for at least 10 hours, according to Narongsak Osatanakorn, chief of the command centers coordinating the rescue, so that divers can replenish their oxygen tanks.

While the governor would not confirm the identities of the four boys, he said the first one emerged at 5:40pm local time, followed by the second boy 10 minutes later.

The rescue mission could take two to four days depending on the conditions in the cave.

Mild weather and falling water levels over the past few days had created optimal conditions for an underwater evacuation that won't last if it rains again, Narongsak had said. Shortly after nightfall, local time, Thai navy SEALs reported on Facebook that the four were rescued.

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On Saturday morning, the Thai navy posted photos of letters that the group had written to their families and the outside world.

The rescue operation involves guiding the boys through a partially flooded cave system that has already taken the life of one diver who attempted to reach the trapped soccer team.

The group became trapped in a cramped chamber deep inside Tham Luang in a mountainous area of northern Thailand on 23 June, when they went in after football practice and got caught behind rising waters after a torrential downpour. He has also thanked worldwide experts who helped find the boys.

The journey is set to be hard for both the boys, who can not dive or swim, as well as the experienced divers due to low visibility and strong currents.

A source at the Chiang Rai hospital said that five emergency response doctors were awaiting the boys and a further 30 doctors were on standby.

The announcement of USA government involvement was sudden and this tweet is looked at as Trump's first public comment on the rescue mission.

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The boys were each being led by two divers as they wind 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) through pitch darkness, trudge through thick mud, clamber over slippery jagged rocks and dive through narrow passageways swirling with cold, strong currents.

Dubbed "D-day" by the rescue team leader, the divers entered the wide cave mouth on Sunday morning to begin extracting the boys, accompanied by a whole contingent of emergency workers.

In an indication of how unsafe the journey can be, a former Thai navy diver died in the caves on Friday.

A Twitter user, Lisa Wilkinson, quoted Australian medical expert Dr Richard Harris who examined the 13 Mu Pa Academy members in the cave as saying that the weakest boys would be brought out first. Saman Gunan, a former Navy SEAL, ran out of air and drowned on his swim back out of the cave.

"Don't be anxious, I miss everyone".

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