"We're ready for the operation today", said Narongsak, who said the weather and the water levels in the cave are good. "We're under a lot of pressure", she said, declining to be named because she was not allowed to speak to the media.
Over the weekend, the Thai government successfully rescued four boys who had been trapped in the cave since June 23.
The anxious families say they have forgiven 25-year-old soccercoach Ekapol Chanthawong who led the boys on what was supposed to be an innocent adventure in cave exploring more than two weeks ago.
The saga has dominated global headlines, with the team spending nine days unaccounted for inside the cave, before British divers found the emaciated and dishevelled group huddling on a muddy bank above the flooding.
"When everything was taken into account, including a forecast of possible rain, the water level and the physical health of those involved, the operation was advanced 4-5 hours". It is a race against the clock with heavy rain expected in coming days, which would again dangerously flood the tunnels with fast flowing, and rising, water.
Thirteen foreign divers and five members of Thailand's elite navy SEAL unit make up the main team guiding the boys to safety through narrow, submerged passageways that claimed the life of a former Thai navy diver on Friday.
The operation to rescue the Thai football team trapped in a cave has begun this morning.
He did not say how many boys the team hoped to bring out on Monday.
Police and military personnel use umbrellas to cover around a stretcher near a helicopter and an ambulance at a military airport in Chiang Rai on July 9, 2018, as rescue operations continue for those still trapped inside the cave in Khun Nam Nang Non Forest.
On Sunday, divers held the first four boys close to bring them out, and each had to wear an oxygen mask to enable normal breathing, authorities said.
"The water level is still at a satisfactory level and we have enough teams to complete the mission", Narongsak said on Monday. However, it is unclear if the device is part of any current rescue plans. There was no word on the condition of any of the people brought out on Monday.
Sunday's rescue mission was described as a success by Thai officials.
The ordeal has riveted Thailand and captured the world's attention.
After the four boys were removed from the cave, heavy rain started falling.
Thailand's prime minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, who visited the cave Monday, also stopped by to see the eight boys in the hospital, Osatanakorn said. They are then taken to hospital in Chiang Rai.
A BCRC spokesman said: "The UK divers are part of the core team, so they will be actively involved and that will include escorting each child out through the flooded passage".
Rescuers made a decision to go ahead with the operation to free them because of fears that waters would rise again.
Among these were that none of the boys had scuba diving experience, and that they could easily panic while swimming underwater in darkness.
Chiang Rai acting Gov. Narongsak Osattanakorn said the second phase began at 11 a.m. and authorities "hope to hear good news in the next few hours".
Experienced cave rescue experts consider an underwater escape a last resort, especially with people untrained in diving, as the boys are.
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