Officials say it could be four days before Thai cave rescue complete

Thai cave rescue route

Four boys completed the hazardous escape yesterday and are receiving medical treatment, say rescue officials.

"Today is D-Day", Narongsak had earlier told reporters.

In the hours preceding the rescue, a letter the boys had sent to their families was published on the Thai SEALs' Facebook page.

In preparation for receiving more of the trapped boys, five ambulances were seen driving toward the Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex, and at least one helicopter was also seen heading towards the cave entrance.

The first two boys emerged from the cave at 5.40pm local time, followed by the other two at 7.40pm and 7.50pm.

Narongsak said the operation was going "better than expected".

Officials said the boys are healthy but have not provided details on their condition.

Per the Bangkok Post, the boys have been split up into four groups.

The incoming monsoon will only cause water levels to rise, further jeopardizing the lives of those who remain trapped inside of the Tham Luang cave complex. The team is huddled in an enclosed area of the cave, in which oxygen levels are falling, and the incoming rain could end up shrinking the unflooded space to around 100 square feet. Earlier efforts to pump out water from the cave have been set back every time there has been a heavy downpour.

Musk - who runs multiple California-based companies, including SpaceX and Tesla - said Friday that engineers on his staff would travel to Thailand to assess how they might help.

The next phase of the operation would start Monday after rescue teams replenish the supply of oxygen tanks along the route to ensure the safety of the journey, which takes several hours.

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Thai officials said the rescue effort, which began Saturday night, will take multiple days.

Their plight transfixed Thailand and the rest of the world, as authorities struggled to locate them and then devise a plan to get the boys - aged between 11 and 16 - and their 25-year-old coach out. Rescuers have spent the past few days trying to teach them basic diving and breathing skills.

According to a document released by the Thai authorities, the operation has involved two divers accompanying each of the teenagers, who are being brought out in groups.

A team of 13 global cave diving experts and five Thai divers entered the precarious cave system at 10am local time on Sunday, after attempts to drill through to them were abandoned. "Very fearless and talented people!"

Officials lavished praise on the Thai and worldwide divers who, in pairs of two, executed the risky rescue mission, guiding the boys, who could barely swim and had no diving experience, through a treacherous 4-kilometer-long (2 1/2-mile) escape route that twisted and turned through the cavern.

"I am still waiting here at the cave, keeping my fingers crossed to see whether my son will be one of those to come out today", Supaluk Sompiengjai, a mother of Pheeraphat - known by his nickname "Night" - told AFP. I've told Yod to get ready to take me out for fried chicken.

"Don't be anxious", wrote another boy, Mick. Grandpa, Uncle, Mom, Dad and siblings, I love you all.

"To the parents of all the kids, right now the kids are all fine, the crew are taking good care".

"If you ask me how long it will take, no one can answer that".

Thousands of people including soldiers, navy and police have been mobilised for the operation to save 12 young footballers and their coach from the Moo Pa team - or "wild boar" in Thai.

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