Thai cave mission successfully rescues soccer team and their coach

British diver Robert Charles Harper

British diver Robert Charles Harper Credit REUTERS Soe Zeya Tun

"All the thirteen Wild Boars are now out of the cave", the SEAL unit said on its Facebook page, adding all were safe.

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

The search and rescue operation has riveted people both in Thailand and internationally, with journalists from across the globe travelling to this town along the border with Burma to report on the ordeal. Authorities have said the mission could take up to four days to complete and heavy rain is forecast in the coming days.

But crews continue to work with the knowledge that additional monsoon rains could threaten the operation and put the remaining kids and their coach in peril.

Some divers rescuing the boys trapped in a cave in northern Thailand have traversed about 10 miles over the past two days. He initially sprung into action and started communicating with Thai officials and engineers to assist with the rescue at the behest of Twitter users. Tuesday's operation began just after 10am. Medical officials told reporters that they're healthy, fever-free, mentally fit and "seem to be in high spirits".

Graphic: The Thai cave complex where four boys and their soccer coach remain trapped is expansive, stretching about 10 km.

"If everything goes right, we will see four kids and a doctor and three Seals that have stayed with the kids will all come out".

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Rescuers have evacuated eight boys from a cave in northern Thailand.

Although the rescued eight were all presumed to be the boys, aged between 11 and 16, authorities did not reveal their identities nor confirm whether the coach remained inside the cave.

While the boys are in good health, two may have mild lung infection.

"The kids are footballers so they have high immune systems", Mr Jesada said.

Family members have seen at least some of the boys from behind a glass barrier.

Four other youngsters and their soccer coach are still inside.

Highlighting the dangers, a former Thai Navy SEAL died Friday while replenishing the canisters.

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"It is certainly a risk and can take some time to manifest itself and make its presence known", said Andrew Watson, a specialist on rescues from mines and floods trapped.

Mr Narongsak and other senior officials in the mission expressed gratitude towards His Majesty the King and the royal family; local and global rescue personnel, relevant organisations, volunteers and local and worldwide supporters for the success. They successfully extracted the second group of four a full two hours faster than the first, officials said.

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk tweeted Monday that he had visited the cave and left behind a mini-sub rescue vehicle "in case it may be useful in the future".

July 9, American engineer and founder of SpaceX Elon Musk showed photos and videos of metal capsules created to rescue children from a flooded cave in Thailand.

He posted video of divers escorting the pod during testing in a Los Angeles swimming pool.

Divers have rescued eight of the boys.

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