Thai cave rescuers prepare to retrieve more boys later today

Thai rescue team members walk inside a cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23 in Mae Sai Chiang Rai province northern Thailand

Thai rescue team members walk inside a cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23 in Mae Sai Chiang Rai province northern Thailand

A diver in front led the way, with a boy tethered to him and another diver following behind.

Narongsak said Monday's rescues involving 18 divers and a support team of 100 had taken nine hours, two fewer than the rescues on Sunday.

"If Phra Pirun helps us, we might be able to do it very quickly", Narongsak said, again invoking the god of rain, who is widely revered in Thailand. "We achieved a mission impossible".

On Sunday night, Thai navy SEALs posted a celebratory note on their Facebook page, saying: "Have sweet dreams everyone".

The operation to rescue the boys, ages 11-16, and their 25-year-old coach by having them dive out of the flooded cave began Sunday morning, with expert divers entering the sprawling complex for the complicated and risky mission. "So I've been asking for three days".

Two divers will accompany each boy as they are gradually extracted. Worldwide experts set up rescue communications, while Thai villagers set up coffee stalls and massage stations.

The entire operation to get all 13 out of the cave could take days, depending on weather and water conditions, said Thai army Major General Chalongchai Chaiyakam. He had been due at the site in the evening. Thai police lining the road from the entrance laughed and flashed thumbs ups at the vast numbers of news organizations from all over the world waiting for this very scene. Aged between 11 and 16 years, the boys were members of the Wild Boar soccer team.

Their escape led to an explosion of jubilation on social media in Thailand as the rescued boys were rushed to hospital. I'm happy being here inside, the navy SEALS have taken good care.

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They were celebrating a second day of stunning triumph after divers guided four more boys Monday through tight passages and dank flooded caverns to safety.

Musk explained the metal tube would be "l$3 ight enough to be carried by 2 divers, small enough to get through narrow gaps" in the cave, and "extremely robust".

Shortly after the full rescue was announced, President Donald Trump sent a congratulatory message.

Authorities have not yet identified the rescued boys publicly and details of their condition remain sparse. "Such a lovely moment - all freed, great job!" he wrote.

The World Today talks to global reporter Anne Barker about the latest information on the second phase of the rescue operation. They are considered some of the finest divers in the world, but the operation is incredibly challenging even for such experts.

"Doctors have treated the boys, and now all of them are OK and cheerful and are talking normally", said Jesada Chokedamrongsuk, permanent secretary of the Thai Ministry of Public Health. Their families were being kept at a distance because of fears of infection and the emaciated-looking boys were eating a rice-based porridge because they were still too weak to take regular food, authorities said.

Eight boys and the coach remain trapped, and the ordeal has been a closely watched news story around the globe. "From what I've seen in the clip, they did look skinny", he said. 'I can't tell you exact timing of the next operation but I can say it will be more than ten hours to 20 hours'.