« Royal family announce Prince Louis' godparents | Main | The cave odyssey that captured the attention of the world »

Eight boys rescued from Thailand cave

ABC News(CHIANG RAI, Thailand) -- Dive teams in Thailand rescued four more boys from a flooded jungle cave Monday and were confident they will also be able to save the remaining four boys and their adult soccer coach still trapped in the cavern.

Chiang Rai provincial Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn was optimistic as the second day of the rescue mission got underway that he predicted all of the boys on the soccer team and the coach will be safely brought out of the labyrinth where they went missing 17 days ago.

"I insist that all 13 will be safe and sound," Osatanakorn said.

After the first four boys were brought out of the cave to safety Sunday, rescuers had planned to take a 10- to 20-hour pause to replenish the cave holding the remaining boys with oxygen and give the team of 18 divers who have been leading the boys on a perilous journey to safety a chance to rest. However, the rescue effort resumed a few hours earlier than planned on Monday.

The latest phase was completed just after 5 p.m. local time Monday, a source close to the rescue operation said. About six hours after they entered the jungle cave to resume the rescue operation, divers emerged with one of the boys in tow.

Over the next three hours, they brought out three other boys, the source close to the operation told ABC News.

The children, who were not named, taken to ambulances, driven to waiting helicopters, whisked off to an old airport in Chiang Rai, and taken by ambulances to a hospital where there four teammates rescued on Sunday are being treated.

The life-saving mission has captured the attention of the world and drawn international search-and-rescue crews from the U.S. military, China, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Japan.

Following the first four rescues, divers had planned to take a 10- to 20-hour pause in the operation to replenish the cave with oxygen and give the team of 18 divers leading the boys on the perilous journey to safety a chance to rest. However, they ended up starting the rescue effort a few hours earlier than planned on Monday.

The second phase began at 11 a.m. local time, which is midnight Eastern time.

Rescuers are hustling to bring the remaining members of the Wild Boar soccer to out of the Tham Luang Nang Non cave before monsoon rainstorm forecast for the area strikes and threaten to flood the cave again.

The remaining seven boys and their 25-year-old coach have been trapped in the underground maze since June 23 when they and they entered and their exit was cut off by flash flooding.

Officials called the four boys who have already been rescued, "hungry, but happy." Officials said the boys are already eager to eat khao pad ka pow (fried rice with basil).

While the boys have been rescued from the cave, parents haven't actually gotten a chance to meet with them. The boys are being quarantined due to the fear of infection. Officials did say they were considering allowing the parents to see the boys through a glass partition in the meantime.

The recovery mission was begun in earnest on Sunday due to favorable weather conditions. Approaching monsoons that have been forecast to inundate the area for days, have held off allowing rescuers' pump floodwaters from the cave to make the journey out quicker. Officials said Monday that despite rain Monday morning, the weather was holding out so far.

"A lot of people were afraid if it were to rain a lot. It rained continuously on Sunday and this morning," Osatanakorn said. "The weather is good now, but cloudy."

The international effort to save the group has paired divers in "buddy teams" with the remaining boys and their coach. Officials had said before restarting the efforts that they hoped to have all the others in the cave rescued by the end of Monday local time.

"Today was very successful, more than expected," Osatanakorn said Sunday.

The first boy emerged from the cave at 5:40 p.m. local time on Sunday, followed 10 to 20 minutes later the second boy, Osatanakorn said. About two hours later, the third and fourth boys were pulled from the cave 10 minutes apart, he said.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

ABC News Radio