At least 4 boys evacuated from Thailand cave: Thai Navy SEAL

A group of people from Tachileik Myanmar come to the entrance of Tham Luang Nang Non cave and pray for a successful rescue for the 12 trapped children and their coach

Some of the children are poor swimmers, and the journey out of the cave from the chamber they are trapped in takes even experienced Navy SEALs divers as long as five or six hours to complete.

A unsafe mission to rescue 12 Thai schoolboys and their soccer coach trapped inside a flooded cave for more than two weeks began and authorities said the first survivor may emerge around 11 hours later.In pic: Thai Navy soldiers in the flooded Tham Luang cave during rescue operations for the 12 boys and their football team coach.

A Thai navy SEAL commander told reporters he believed there was "a limited amount of time" left to rescue the team, who wandered into the caves on June 23 after soccer practice.

Mission chief Narongsak said in recent days that medic teams had complained about the media presence and they told him "it will be a problem if they have a real emergency situation".

"During the peak of the rainy season, we are anxious that the area where the boys are can be inundated or can be left at just 10 sq m".

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

MEDICAL TEAMS ANXIOUS Thirteen medical teams were stationed outside the cave - each with its own helicopter and ambulance - one for each of 12 boys and their coach.

The first of the four boys emerged from the cave entrance about nine hours after a team of 18 global cave diving experts entered the underground chamber to begin the hazardous process of accompanying the boys through the flooded, narrow tunnels to safety.

The next phase of the rescue operation to free the eight boys and their 25-year-old soccer coach will begin in 10 to 20 hours.

The head of the rescue mission, Narongsak Osottanakorn, suggested earlier in the weekend that the boys were not ready to make the trip, but later on Saturday said there was a window of opportunity to try ahead of looming monsoon rains. When they come out they want to eat many things. "It's been 16 days, and today we finally got to see the Wild Boars' faces", he said, referring to the name of their soccer team. That's the name of the young boys' team. The first is expected to reach safety at 9 pm on Sunday (10 am ET) at the earliest.

Authorities said efforts to drill down from the top of the mountain have been unsuccessful so far, with only 18 workable openings.

Pete Wolf, national director of the Cave Divers Association of Australia, said the rescue workers faced "extreme" conditions.

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

She said rescuers have not been giving away how optimistic or pessimistic they are. but "it was clear they were tense". The operation began at 10 a.m. and he said it would take at least 11 hours for the first person to be rescued.

According to rescue officials, he is among the weakest in the group, in part because he gave the boys his share of the limited food and water they had with them in the early days.

His parents, who along with other families, have maintained a constant vigil at the site since the boys first became trapped.

"If we wait and the rain comes in the next few days we will be exhausted again from pumping and our readiness would drop".

News says two members of the youth soccer team trapped for two weeks in a Thailand cave have been rescued by divers. Late Friday night, Narongsak admitted that all options appeared too risky and that officials were looking for backup options instead of the dive, spooked by the SEAL's death. When he checked it at 7 p.m., there were at least 20 calls from anxious parents, none of whose sons had come home.

The rescuers and boys will have to contend with navigating tight passageways filled with muddy water and strong currents, as well as with oxygen-depleted air.

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