Thailand Cave Rescue Saves 8 Children Trapped For Weeks Underground

Fifth boy brought out of Thai cave on second day of rescue says official

Three more people were rescued from a flooded Thai cave on Tuesday, officials said, bringing to 11 the number saved and raising hopes all members of the young football team who became trapped 18 days ago would survive.

Head of the operation, Governor Narongsak Osatanakorn, earlier said the first 19 divers involved in the operation were sent in around 10am on Tuesday (local time).

By Monday night, elite divers had managed to bring out eight members of the football team which included 12 boys and their 25-year-old coach.

All of the boys were expected to remain in quarantine for up to a week before finally being allowed to go home and return to a life that will, likely, never quite be "normal" again.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha dismissed rumours on Tuesday that the boys had been drugged to facilitate the operation, saying the children had not been given anaesthetic.

Rescue teams have already extracted eight Thai boys from the cave, and all are recovering from their ordeal in hospital and said to be in good health.

The success of the mission has drawn a line under an extraordinary rescue effort that has transfixed Thailand for more than two weeks and captured global attention for days on end.

Relive all the afternoon's drama from the Tham Luang cave as day three of the rescue began.

Two of the four boys who were rescued on Sunday and were given antibiotics after showing signs of pneumonia, the health official said.

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Narongsak Osottanakorn followed a similar protocol on day one and day two of the rescue, withholding confirmation until the mission for the day had ended.

An Australian doctor at the centre of the effort to rescue a group of boys and their football coach trapped in a cave in Thailand's Chiang Rai province convinced Thai officials to change their rescue plans and get the weakest boys out first.

"We were obviously very afraid of any kind of panic from the divers", he said, adding he was in awe of the boys' ability to stay calm.

"The kids are footballers so they have high immune systems", Dr Jedsada said.

Jesada Chokedamrongsuk, a physician from the Thai ministry of public health, told a separate press conference at the Chiang Rai hospital that the eight patients were cheerful.

He said they would need to keep at least 2 metres away from their boys for at least 48 hours, until "we are sure there is no infection, then they can visit them normally". The first day we spent 11 hours, yesterday we spent nine hours [from the start of the mission to the final rescue].

Heavy rains lashed the northern Thai region late Monday and a steady downpour has continued Tuesday.

They were originally stuck after taking shelter from monsoon rains inside the caves, and walked further in to escape flooding. Mini-sub is ready if needed.

Two of the boys had suspected lung infections but the four boys from the first group rescued were all walking around their hospital beds.

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