Thai cave rescue: third mission planned amid heavy downpours around site

An ambulance leaves the Tham Luang cave area

The general leading the huge global effort to rescue the young footballers and their coach thanked the god of rain for his forbearance, as the boys were guided out of the Tham Luang caves in full-face masks - easier than traditional respirators for novice divers to use - during an intense nine-hour operation. He was taken by helicopter and then ambulance to the hospital in Chiang Rai were the first four boys, who were rescued on Sunday, are now being held in quarantine as they undergo tests.

Four additional boys, along with their 25-year-old soccer coach, remain in the cave and await the next round of rescues, CNN reported.

Torrential rain had not affected conditions for the rescue operation. Their families were being kept at a distance because of fears of infection and the emaciated-looking boys were eating a rice-based porridge because they were still too weak to take regular food, authorities said.

He added that the divers were the "same multinational team" that rescued the four boys on Sunday.

In a drama that has received press coverage across the world, two British cave rescue specialists, workign with Thai military teams, found the 13 on a bank in a partly flooded chamber several kilometers inside the complex on Monday, last week.

Thai soldiers arrive at the Tham Luang cave area as the operations continue for those still trapped inside the cave in Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province on July 9, 2018.

The boys, whose names have not been revealed, are being treated at Chiang Rai Prachanukraw Hospital in Muang district.

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For the final operation tomorrow, Mr Narongsak said the rescuers would use the same plan with some adjustments because the number of survivors to be extracted would be five instead of four as was the case for the last two days.

The four remaining boys and their coach, Ekaphol Chantawong, are spending night 17 inside the cave but it is still unclear if they will be freed by the end of Tuesday.

Monday's mission involved 18 divers from Thailand and overseas.

"The water level is still at a satisfactory level and we have enough teams to complete the mission", Narongsak said on Monday. "Some of them had gone to rest, some others are preparing for the next operation".

On July 6th, former Thai Navy diver, Petty Officer Saman Gunan died while helping deliver oxygen to the team. However, they ended up starting the rescue effort a few hours earlier than planned.

Some divers rescuing the boys trapped in a cave in northern Thailand have traversed about 10 miles (16 km) over the past two days. Add Thailand Cave Rescue as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Thailand Cave Rescue news, video, and analysis from ABC News.

Oxygen levels in the caves also dropped, causing the cramped passageways to be even more deadly than before.

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