Thai cave rescue: Elon Musk reveals child-size submarine

Thai cave rescue: Elon Musk reveals child-size submarine

Rescue operation commander Narongsak Osottanakorn declined to say how many people would be taken out on Monday, but a Thai navy source said it was likely to be four or five. Now four boys have been safely freed from the cave, while eight more and their soccer coach remain trapped after 16 days of isolation.

The 12 young footballers and their coach became trapped in the Thiam Luang cave two weeks ago due to rising water after they entered the cave made it impossible for them to escape.

The global effort to save the Thai boys and their soccer coach trapped in a cave includes divers and experts from all over the world.

Nine people remained trapped in the cave, including the team's coach, after four boys were rescued on Sunday, the first day of the rescue operation.

After rescuing the four boys, the officials paused the operation for at least 10 hours to fill the oxygen tanks that were used.

When the boys are freed, they will immediately be taken to Chiangrai Prachanukroh hospital, around 60 miles from the cave site. The second operation started at 11 a.m. local time Monday (midnight ET).

But with oxygen levels inside dropping to unsafe 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. A family member told CNN Monday that they hadn't been told which boys had been pulled out, and who is still trapped in the cave.

However, after news of the rescue of four boys emerged, Musk tweeted, "Hopefully useful".

Workers have been labouring around the clock to pump water out of the cave, and authorities said Monday that heavy downpours overnight did not raise water levels inside.

Rescue mission under way to free boys inside Thai cave
It is only a small battle we've won, but the war has not ended. "But I expect the operation to finish in the next couple of days". Indo-Pacific Command, including pararescue and survival specialists, flew in from Okinawa last week.

So far eight boys have been rescued from the cave in Chiang Rai province, in the country's mountainous north, but they are being kept in isolation for examination and possible treatment.

The plight of the group has transfixed Thailand and the rest of the world, as authorities struggled to locate them and then devise a plan to get the boys and their coach out. Highlighting the extreme dangers, a former Thai Navy SEAL died Friday while replenishing the oxygen canisters laid along the route to the boys' damp refuge.

A video published by the Thai PBS channel earlier on Monday also showed a person on a stretcher - most likely the first boy to be rescued on Monday - being transferred to a helicopter.

Phuwadech said he remains anxious about Tun and the others, particularly after seeing them in videos Thai Navy SEAL divers have taken of the boys inside the cave and posted on Facebook. Bancha Duriyapan told a news conference punctuated by applause from the dozens of Thai and foreign journalists and others in attendance.

"So, it's not so much how they'll be feeling in the immediate aftermath - we would expect to see some strong reactions - or not - it depends upon many factors I don't know about".

Weather forecasters warned heavy rain could hit the area through the week.

"If something changes, we'll stop", he said. Doctors and nurses at a triage camp set up just inside the mouth of the cave gave the boys quick physicals before they were sent to the hospital in Chiang Rai.

Meanwhile, a letter of apology from the coach of the football team was delivered to the boys' parents via the cave divers.

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