Newest rescues are healthier than first boys freed 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

Hundreds of spectators and journalists have gathered in the area around the cave, hoping for news that the boys and their coach would emerge safely.

Officials said late Sunday they'd need to pause the operation for at least 10 hours to fill oxygen tanks that had been depleted during the first phase of the rescue mission.

Mild weather and falling water levels over the past few days created optimal conditions for an underwater evacuation, but that won't last if it rains again, Narongsak said. Officials have said storms forecast for Chiang Rai province in Thailand's far north had factored into their decision to go ahead with a complicated and unsafe plan to have the boys and their coach dive out of the cave.

Dive tanks are needed on the journey in and out - the average tank holds about 2200 litres of air, and a skilled diver uses between 15-20 litres per minute near the surface, with that amount increasingly rapidly at depth.

Four were rescued over the weekend.

Four other youngsters and their soccer coach are still inside.

The names of the rescued boys have not been released out of "respect for those families whose sons are still trapped inside", the mission chief said.

Four more young footballers and their coach at the Mu Pa (WIld Boar) Academy Mae Sai, Ekkapol Chantawong, are still on the ledge.

Narongsak said that the "same multinational team" that went into the cave on Sunday to retrieve the first four boys was deployed on Monday.

Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda had said early Monday that the same divers who took part in Sunday's rescue would return to extricate the others as they know the cave conditions and what to do.

The soccer team seen in the cave last week, before anyone was rescued.

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

"Today is D-Day", Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters earlier in the day.

A witness on the scene said they saw one person being carried on a stretcher from the cave into the ambulance around 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Reuters reported.

The boys and their 25-year-old coach have been trapped for more than two weeks after heavy rains flooded the kilometers- long cave network made up of caverns connected by tight passages.

"I watch the news on my phone, my mom is watching on TV", said Chokumpompan, who graduated from the same school that six of the boys now attend, Mae Si Prasitsart School.

The Thai community lies on the border with Myanmar and it is where several of the boys on the soccer team go to school.

But with oxygen levels inside dropping to risky lows and the prospect of heavy rains flooding the area completely, authorities decided they had to move quickly, and take the group out through the water-filled tunnels.

Among the ideas were drilling an escape route through the mountain, or leaving them for months until the monsoon season ended and the flooding subsided.

The ordeal has riveted Thailand and captured the world's attention.

A team of 19 Australian divers are assisting with the rescue operation. Musk shared the videos on Twitter and they show his team testing the apparatus. If the tests were successful, the sub was to be placed on a 17-hour flight to Thailand.

"The four children are fine".

Musk on Sunday shared photos and videos of a small submarine-like vessel that could help rescue the group stranded on a muddy ledge about 2.5 miles from the cave's main entrance, and about half a mile below the surface.

U.S. president Donald Trump confirmed this morning in a tweet that the USA is among the six countries assisting Thai officials.

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