At least two of a group of boys trapped inside a cave in northern Thailand for two weeks have been been successfully brought out, reports say.
Paramedics carry a stretcher, believed to be one of the boys from the soccer team, to a helicopter in Chiang Rai on Sunday.
The first two schoolboys have emerged from a flooded Thai cave after divers launched a daring and unsafe mission to rescue the children and their soccer coach, who have been trapped underground for more than two weeks, a Thai official said. Now, having used all the oxygen supplies, they'll need between 10 and 20 hours to resupply before resuming the rescue mission.
"We have sent the team in at around 11 am Hopefully we will have good news in a few hours", the head of the rescue mission, Narongsak Osottanakorn, told a news conference.
On Monday, a witness revealed that the fifth boy was brought out of the flooded cave at around 4.30 p.m. local time (via CNN).
The rescued boys are being kept in sterilized isolation units at a nearby hospital, which prohibits physical contact, and their parents have not been told they're safe.
On Sunday afternoon, Elon Musk tweeted that the kid-size submarine his team had developed to assist with the rescue of Thai boys trapped in a cave was en route to Thailand.
Plans called for the boys to be placed in ambulances and given medical assessments.
None of the boys' identities have not yet been publicly revealed.
Depending on weather and water conditions, the entire operation to get all 13 members of the team out of the cave could last two to four days, according to army Maj. Each boy is being accompanied by two divers and it takes hours to negotiate the flooded tunnels through the dark, murky water.
The most risky part of the journey out of the labyrinth cave system is the first kilometer, during which they are required to squeeze through a narrow flooded channel.
But although the eight were rescued, there were concerns they may have contracted an illness while in the cave.
Rescuers have been navigating a risky and complicated plan to get the children out under the threat of heavy rain and rising water underground.
A heavy but brief downpour hit the area Monday morning, but authorities said that did not change the water level in the cave, as workers continue to pump water out.
Ambulances wait to transport rescued schoolboys to a hospital at a military airport in Chiang Rai, Thailand, July 9, 2018.
"This morning they said they were hungry and wanted to eat khao pad grapao", Narongsak said, referring to a Thai dish of meat fried with chili and basil and served over rice. We tell them to come as soon as the doctors give permission'.
After being trapped underground for more than two weeks and only being able to consume protein gels delivered by the rescuers, the Thai soccer players feel ready for a good meal.
His visit with relatives and rescue officials last week was criticized by some Thais as opportunistic as his government faced pro-democracy protests in the capital Bangkok in recent months.