Entire Wild Boar soccer team rescued from Thailand cave

British diver Robert Charles Harper

A Thai well wisher puts a poster to pray for boys and their soccer coach who have been trapped since June 23, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand Monday.

Elite divers hauled four more young footballers out of a flooded Thai cave on Monday, authorities said, bringing to eight the number saved in a stunning rescue mission but still leaving five others trapped.

The boys, aged 12-16, were the first to be extracted on Sunday and Monday, while the final four and their coach spent a 17th night inside.

Three members of the Thai SEAL unit and an army doctor, who has stayed with the boys since they were found, were the last people due to come out of the cave, the unit said.

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.

Local governor Narongsak Osatanakorn said Tuesday's rescue operation began just after 10am local time and involves 19 divers.

The first eight boys rescued are in good mental and physical health and are asking for chocolate, officials said Tuesday, although two were on antibiotics after being tested for pneumonia.

The youngsters and their 25-year-old coach have been trapped for more than two weeks after heavy rains flooded the sprawling cave network, comprising caverns connected by tight passages.

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The eight boys brought out on Sunday and Monday were in good health overall, although two had suspected lung infections.

Writing in elegant Thai script, the boys urged their parents not to worry, adding that they hoped they wouldn't get too much homework after being rescued and couldn't wait to eat their favorite foods again.

After divers brought out four of the boys Monday evening, authorities indicated the rescue operation would continue for a third day.

Family members have seen at least some of the boys from behind a glass isolation barrier, and Jedsada said doctors may let the boys walk around their beds Tuesday. "They are getting forced to do something that no kid has ever done before", Ivan Karadzic, a diver involved with the rescue mission told BBC.

Musk on Tuesday visited the cave and posted pictures and videos online.

Last week, Musk said he was sending teams to Thailand from his private space exploration firm, SpaceX, and engineering firm, Boring Co. which is developing tunneling systems for transport projects.

Divers are forced out of the cave by rushing floodwaters as they try to reach an air pocket called "Pattaya Beach", where the boys are believed to have retreated. This seems less likely now given the need for the boys to undergo further tests.

Narongsak said after the first four boys were rescued that they would be quarantined "for a while because we are concerned about infections".

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