The eight rescued youths are all recuperating in a hospital in Chiang Rai and are said to be in reasonable health.
A second phase of the rescue has successfully been carried out with the same divers helping another four boys to safety. It is not known which of the boys have been rescued.
“Today we rescued four children and sent them to hospital,” rescue chief Narongsak Osottanakorn told assembled media
“We saw the children’s faces today – it is the perfect day, the best situation. The operation went much better than expected.”
It's pouring again in Chiang Rai's Mae Sai district, where #ThamLuang cave complex is located. Authorities said earlier tonight they hope it wouldn't rain too much over next few days. Otherwise, rescue of the remaining 5 survivors could be affected https://t.co/vgn5sug9sK pic.twitter.com/dS0lNyeytY
— Pichayada P. (@PichayadaCNA) July 9, 2018
Rescuers gearing up for the next phase
Narongsak was optimistic the remaining five people in the cave system could be rescued on Tuesday local time.
He added that the plan was to retrieve four people in the next phase. This would possibly mean the team’s coach would need to be retrieved in a separate final run.
“We have set the plan for four people so if they want to take five out, then they need to change the plan,” he said.
“We do think we will do even better for the next mission and we will succeed 100 per cent.”
There was further heavy rain at the site however a local dam was helping to stabilise water levels inside the cave.
The second phase was significantly quicker than the first rescue, taking only around nine hours where the first rescue mission took eleven. More than 100 people are now involved in the rescue.
“We think that we will do even better for the next mission and we will succeed 100 percent" – Mission Commander Narongsak Osottanakorn, after confirming 8 boys now free from #ThamLuangCave #ThaiCaveRescue #TenNews @tendailyau
— Daniel Sutton (@danielsutton10) July 9, 2018
The football team members who have made it out so far have defied the warnings of experts who said the journey would be almost impossible and have successfully dived, waded and crawled to safety.
Rescued boys recovering well
Rescue authorities have said the boys are now able to eat rice porridge but need to recuperate further before they can eat their favourite meals.
“The four children are fine,” Narongsak said.
“The children complained that they were hungry and wanted holy basil stir-fried rice.”
The boys are yet to be reunited with their parents and are still being examined in hospital. Medical staff were concerned they may have contracted airborne lung infections caused by the bat and bird excreta in the cave system.
Tahi Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha was set to visit the eight rescued boys in the hospital.
The rescue has captured imaginations at home and abroad
Back in Mae Sai, the team’s hometown, there were scenes of wild celebration every time a helicopter or ambulance left the entrance of the cave system.
Just returned from Cave 3. Mini-sub is ready if needed. It is made of rocket parts & named Wild Boar after kids’ soccer team. Leaving here in case it may be useful in the future. Thailand is so beautiful. pic.twitter.com/EHNh8ydaTT
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 9, 2018
FIFA has promised the boys tickets to the World Cup Final although they may not have recuperated in time.
Meanwhile, Elon Musk has developed and tested an ‘escape pod’ and sent it to the rescue site.
He tweeted that he was leaving the pod (or mini-submarine) at the site in case it was useful in the future.
He also sent engineers from The Boring Company and SpaceX to the site to see if they could help.