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Thai cave rescue paused, four boys rescued

Thai cave rescue paused, four boys rescued

Several methods of rescuing the boys and coach were considered, but reports of diminishing oxygen levels in the part of the cave where they were trapped increased the urgency of their extraction.

With the round trip in the cave taking many hours, Heidler said the first boy would not emerge until at least 21:00 (14:00 GMT).

Two divers are helping each of the boys out as families wait nervously outside the cave entrance - 2.5 miles (4km) from where they were trapped.

He said 13 ambulances and multiple helicopters are ready to transport the boys and their coach to hospitals. "Today is D-Day", he said.

Chiang Rai province, acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn is heading the rescue operation, and told reporters that the divers will accompany each boy as they're extracted from the cave.

Officials say it could take between two to four days before all the boys are evacuated. Those conditions won't last if the rain resumes, he said. The boys had moved 400 meters further in as the ledge had become covered by water.

The expedition started normally but things took a wrong turn when the group reportedly got stranded in the dark tunnels by a sudden inflow of water into the caves from the heavy rain.

Picture of ex-Thai Navy diver Saman Gunan, who died during early rescue efforts at the Tham Luang cave.

Trapped for two weeks: A massive rescue operation was launched after the boys, ages 11-16, and their coach went missing on June 23.

Monsoon flooding had initially cut off their escape, and rescuers were unable to find them for more than a week.

The ordeal has riveted Thailand and captured the world's attention.

Gunan, thought to be 38, had left the navy, but had come back to help in the rescue operation, in which 1,000 people are now involved. Very fearless and talented people!

All media and non-emergency personnel have been cleared from the site, so all updates will be reported by local authorities from this point on.

The handwritten notes include requests for food, including fried chicken.

It was expected that the boys would not have to dive to get out of the cave - as had been previously predicted - because the cave system would largely be walkable, according to officials. "You don't need to be anxious about me".

"Don't be anxious", wrote another boy, Mick. Grandpa, Uncle, Mom, Dad and siblings, I love you all. "Please take care", he added in the letter. "Although, don't forget to set up my birthday party".

Rescuers have started to enter the cave, with a team of worldwide diving experts attempting to free the 12 schoolboys and their 25-year-old coach.

Technology guru Elon Musk, who is consulting on possible rescue methods, tweeted that he was considering "a tiny, kid-size submarine" for a rescue.


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