Treacherous Thai cave rescue bid enters day two

Four Thai Boys have been rescued so far using buddy diving

Sixteen days after the "Wild Boars" soccer team first went missing in the cave, the second rescue operation began at 11am local time (4pm AEST).

The operation to remove the boys could take three or four days, Third Region Army Deputy Commander Supachoke Thawatpeerachai said.

The rescued boys are likely to stay in Chiang Rai hospital for 48 hours undergoing medical tests to check their health after they swam through dirty floodwaters to exit the cave. The boys were transferred by helicopter and ambulance to a hospital where they are being treated, but officials did not disclose details of their condition.

The Thai official leading the operation to save the 12 boys and their coach from the flooded cave in northern Thailand said the rescue has been going "better than expected".

The toughest part is about halfway out at a section named "T-Junction", which is so tight the divers have to take off their air tanks to get through.

Anupong Paojinda said officials were meeting on Monday morning about the next stage of the operation and how to extract the remaining eight boys and their football coach from the cave in the country's north.

"We're ready for the operation today", said Narongsak, who said the weather and the water levels in the cave are good.

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Thai authorities told media today to leave a camp site near the cave where 12 boys and their coach have been trapped for more than two weeks so that "victims" could be helped, possibly signalling a long-awaited rescue effort to get them out. This week, a former Thai navy diver died during one of the rescue missions. While that's gone well, there's still a high chance of more rain in the area, and the mission plans could be affected over the course of the next several hours - and that will determine whether or not the escape pod will find use in this endeavor.

Four boys have now been freed from the caves, and following a brief rest period, divers are now heading back to free more of them.

"Football's Coming Home. First Wild Boars Out", a headline on one online Thai paper said on Monday, referring to a song chanted by English soccer fans at the World Cup now underway in Russian Federation.

The hours that followed kicked off a chain of events that has riveted the world: a dramatic search and rescue that found the boys alive nine days later, huddled on a small, muddy patch surrounded by floodwaters. Those conditions won't last if the rain resumes, he said. Authorities had said that incoming monsoon rains that could send water levels in the cave rising, coupled with falling oxygen levels in the enclosed space, added to the urgency of getting those trapped out.

The boys and their coach, whose team is known as the Wild Boars, became stranded when they were exploring the cave after a practice game on June 23.

About 90 divers - 50 foreign and 40 Thai - are involved in the operation to remove the boys from the cave, he said.

One of the boys, identified as Tun, wrote: "Mom and Dad, please don't worry, I am fine".

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