Four boys freed from Thai cave site on second day of extraction effort News Services
July 09, 2018, 9:16 AM

Four more boys were brought out of the Thai cave they had been stranded in for more than two weeks on Monday, according to an aide to the Thai navy SEAL commander.

Monday's rescue operation leaves four boys and their soccer coach still in the cave.

Four ambulances have been seen leaving the Thai cave site Monday. Thai officials had been tight-lipped about the rescue operation and did not immediately comment on how many people were removed. A source close to the operation told ABC News that one boy, the fifth overall, was removed from the cave around 5 p.m. local time (6 a.m. ET), six hours after the second phase of the operation began.

Around that time, an ambulance left the cave area and headed toward a helicopter, which landed at a nearby hospital. Medics appeared to remove one person on a stretcher but hid the person's identity behind multiple white umbrellas.

Three other ambulances were also seen leaving the area, bringing the total for the day to four.

A heavy but brief downpour hit the area Monday morning, but authorities said that did not change the water level in the cave, as workers continued to pump water out. New oxygen tanks were placed before the second stage of the rescue effort began.

"All conditions are still as good as they were yesterday," Chiang Rai acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn said at a news conference Monday morning. "The boys' strength, the plan -- today we are ready like before. And we will do it faster because we are afraid of the rain."

Four boys were retrieved from the cave Sunday, with Narongsak noting that the healthiest boys were removed first. The rescued children were taken to the hospital, and officials said early Monday that they are strong and safe but need to undergo detailed medical checks.

"This morning they said they were hungry and wanted to eat khao pad grapao," Narongsak said, referring to a Thai dish of meat fried with chili and basil and served over rice.

Thai authorities said the parents of the four boys rescued Sunday are still being kept from physical contact with them due to fear of infections. Relatives were able to see them through a glass partition.

Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda had said early Monday that the same divers who took part in Sunday's rescue would return to extricate the others as they know the cave conditions and what to do.

The boys and their coach had been stranded in Tham Luang Nang Non since June 23 when they went exploring in the cave after a scrimmage. Monsoon flooding cut off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for almost 10 days.

Authorities have said extracting the entire team from the cave could take up to four days, but Sunday's success raised hopes that it could be done faster.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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