They said rescuing the eight remaining boys and their soccer coach could take up to four days. The Network has posted the first footage, which shows how the ambulances drove up to the disabled children.
The cave complex is off-limits during the rainy season, which usually runs from May to October, when downpours can quickly flood it. Relatives said the boys had been inside the complex during the dry season.
It was not clear who was inside the ambulance or the helicopter.
Narongsak had dubbed Sunday to be "D-day" as the complicated effort was launched in the morning. All four boys were said to be in "perfect" condition, and safely transported to a hospital.
Also Monday, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha visited the cave for the first time since the extraction operation began. It takes several hours. "The war ends when we win all three battles - the battles to search, rescue and send them home".
Eight boys and their coach are still trapped inside. The operation is set to resume later.
Elon Musk tests ‘tiny, kid sized submarine’ for Thai cave rescue
Upon exiting the cave, they were evacuated by helicopter and ambulance to hospital in Chiang Rai province, where they remain. Relatives said the boys had been inside the labyrinthine complex during the dry season.
"I think Narongsak and the commanders changed their minds after the Australian doctor inspected the boys' health and mental state", one senior Thai journalist said. The most problematic section of the trip has been revealed to be halfway out and named the "T-Junction" sue to the fact that it is so small divers are forced to remove their air tanks to pass it.
The boys, aged between 11 and 16, and their 25-year-old coach became stranded when they went exploring in the cave after a practice football game.
He also told reporters divers need to place more air canisters along the underwater route to where the boys and their coach have been trapped. "I promise to take the very best care of the kids", he said in a note given to divers on Friday.
Asked how the authorities had decided which boys were to be taken out first, Mr Narongsak said: "Their health". As per reports, the boys have been trapped in the cave since June 23.
Mild weather and a break in the rain had lowered the water to the lowest levels since the boys were found.
Before the current rescue mission began, Elon Musk tweeted that he was designing an "escape pod" built from "the liquid oxygen transfer tube" of a SpaceX Falcon rocket that could be used as a submarine. If the tests come out successful, the sub would be placed on a 17-hour flight to Thailand.
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A spokesman for Boring Co. said on Sunday that the company has four engineers who are "offering support in any way the government deems useful".
Authorities have not confirmed the identity of the rescued boys.
Bursts of heavy rain soaked the Tham Luang Cave area in Thailand's northern Chiang Rai province overnight, increasing the risks in what has been called a "war with water and time" to save the boys. The team has been trapped in the cave for two weeks.
"Hopefully useful", said Musk.
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