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 soccercoach 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 four children rescued Monday, who were not named, were put in ambulances, driven to waiting helicopters, whisked off to an old airport in Chiang Rai, and then transported again by ambulance to a hospital where their four teammates rescued on Sunday are being treated.
The rescue 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.
Rescuers are hustling to bring the Wild Boar soccer team members out of the Tham Luang Nang Non cave before a monsoon rainstorm that is forecast for the area strikes, which could flood the cave again.
The remaining four 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).
“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.