Phase two of cave rescue underway - mission chief

ASSOCIATED PRESS           Two helicopters wait near the cave for more evacuations of the boys and their soccer coach on Monday

Divers have restarted their mission to rescue the eight members of a boys' soccer team and their coach who remain trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand. Musk said his submarine has eight handles, four in the front and four in the rear, and four air tank connections.

Extracting everyone could take up to four days, but the initial success raised hopes that could be done.

Rescue mission commander Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters that after being rescued they were in good spirits but hungry, specifically requesting pad kra pao.

Efforts to rescue the boys - aged between 11 and 16 - got going again on Monday after a break to replenish oxygen supplies and make other preparations deep inside the cave complex.

Around that time, an ambulance left the cave area and headed toward a helicopter, which landed at a nearby hospital.

Image: A crowd watches as ambulances transport some of the rescued boysA crowd watches as ambulances transport some of the rescued boys to a hospital on Monday.Lauren DeCicca / Getty Images Three more boys were carried out in the hours that followed, according to a post on the Thai navy SEALs Facebook page. Divers guided them though more than two miles of dark and narrow tunnels filled with murky water and strong currents. None of those kids will have to spend any time inside the tiny submarine, but it could be developed further for similar rescue missions in the future.

But Narongsak said earlier that recent mild weather and falling water levels had created optimal conditions for an underwater evacuation.

During the press conference, Thai authorities said they were hoping it wouldn't rain for the rest of the rescue operation so that the process could be faster. Four more boys and the coach remain in the cave.

Teams have used high-powered pumps to empty more than 100 million of gallons of water out of the cave.

Authorities said the next phase could begin any time within a 10-hour window that began about 0000 GMT (7am local time) on Monday.

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Narongsak Osotthanakorn said the boy's rescue involved numerous same divers who brought the four boys out Sunday.

Rescuers are moving ahead quickly because they are afraid monsoon rains will completely flood the caves.

TRT World's John Joe Regan has the latest from Thailand.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Richard Harris, an anesthetist from Adelaide, Australia, has been one of the worldwide dive experts seconded to assist with the hard and unsafe rescue mission.

The rescuers also had cassettes, in which the children were placed, to help transport them safely in areas that were flooded. "We're two hours quicker than yesterday".

"The operation today (Sunday) was more successful than we earlier expected", he said. "Very fearless and talented people!"

The boys sounded calm and reassuring in handwritten notes to their families that were made public Saturday.

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.

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

One boy asked for a fried chicken dinner. "With love." "Don't be anxious", wrote another boy, Mick.

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