11 July, 2018
He said that water level in the cave continued to recede, facilitating the rescue operations five hours early on Monday.
Although the rescued eight were all presumed to be the boys, aged between 11 and 16, authorities did not reveal their identities nor confirm whether the coach remained inside the cave.
Ivan Karadzic, a Danish dive instructor who lives in Thailand and who was involved in Sunday's rescue effort as a support diver, said that the operation "went surprisingly well, we were expecting bad things to happen, and they didn't". It is about two kilometres from the entrance.
The most unsafe part of the journey out of the labyrinth cave system is the first kilometer, in which they are required to squeeze through a narrow flooded channel.
The divers will stop off at scheduled points throughout the journey stocked with extra oxygen tanks, allowing the crew to replenish themselves and the boys they are guiding. Authorities say they want to get them out now, given the looming threat of more rain and floods.
"I beg Phra Pirun because the Meteorological Department said that from Monday on there will be continuous rain", Bancha said.
"The whole world is watching", said dessert vendor Jitt Thongnuk, 56, at an intersection near the hospital where the boys have been taken, adding that his business was suffering because roads had been blocked to make way for ambulances.
Osotthanakorn said the boys were hungry and asking for a Thai dish of beef with basil and chilli. Relatives were able to see them through a glass partition, the governor said.
Doctors are monitoring them for any illnesses they may have picked up in the cave, and supervising efforts to build up their strength after they spent more than two weeks with little food and no natural light.
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"Living in a cave has a different environment, which might contain animals that could transmit any disease", they said.
The boys and their coach have been trapped in the cave system in the country's north for about two weeks.
Officials lavished praise on the Thai and global divers who, in pairs of two, executed the unsafe rescue mission, guiding the boys, who could barely swim and had no diving experience, through a treacherous 2½-mile-long escape route that twisted and turned through the cavern.
Cave rescue experts consider an underwater escape to be a last resort, especially with people untrained in diving.
It's a process that can take several hours.
The first four boys in the football team were rescued on Sunday and are in a stable condition in hospital.
The divers also brought out touching notes for the families written by some of the trapped boys. It was unclear who was inside the ambulance or the helicopter. "From what I've seen in the clip, they did look skinny", he said.
Rescue efforts to free a group of trapped schoolboys from a cave in Thailand have now been underway for two days, and an eighth boy has now been freed from the unsafe complex.
They wore full-faced masks "while hanging on to the bodies of rescue divers", Channel News Asia reported.