Eight boys rescued from cave in northern Thailand

An ambulance leaves the Tham Luang cave area

Four more of the boys were carried on stretchers out of the labyrinthine Tham Luang cave on the Myanmar border on Monday, bringing to eight the total number brought out so far after two rescue pushes in successive days.

In an atmosphere of growing confidence, close to jubilation, the rescuers said that, having rescued eight boys, they expected to bring out the final four boys later today.

"The children complained that they were hungry and wanted holy basil stir-fried rice", Narongsak Osottanakorn, the head of the rescue operation, told reporters on Monday, referring to the popular Thai dish.

Nargonsak said this phase may take longer than the previous two rescue missions, which both lasted several hours.

Families have not been told which boys are free, so all parents have agreed to remain at the cave until the entire team is rescued. Rescue operations have halted for the night and will restart on Tuesday. "Now they are fine", he said.

The emergence of the second batch of four on Monday evening was greeted with a simple "Hooyah" by the Thai Seals team on their Facebook page, an exclamation that lit up Thai social media.

A crack team of foreign divers and Thai Navy SEALs guided the boys during a nine-hour operation through almost 4 km (2.5 miles) of sometimes submerged channels from where they have been trapped for more than a fortnight. Another five still await rescue, including the team's 25-year-old coach.

Two of the boys possibly have a lung infection but all eight are generally "healthy and smiling", he said.

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12 young children and their football coach have been stuck in a partially flooded cave in Thailand's Chiang Rai province since June 23rd, and they're beginning to run out of oxygen.

Ambulances and a helicopter were seen rushing from the cave site on Monday.

All four were airlifted to a hospital in the nearest city, Chiang Rai.

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

The death on Friday of a former Thai navy Seal, Saman Gunan, underlined the risks.

"The water level is still at a satisfactory level and we have enough teams to complete the mission", Narongsak said on Monday. 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.

The plight of the boys and their coach has drawn global attention, with divers, engineers and medics among others flying in from around the world to assist. However, they ended up starting the rescue effort a few hours earlier than planned.

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

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