A tenth person has been rescued from a flooded Thai cave complex where 12 boys and their soccer coach were trapped for more than two weeks, raising hopes all 13 would be out by the end of the day.
A Reuters witness saw two people being carried out of the Tham Luang cave on stretchers on Tuesday, the first two to be taken out on the third day of the rescue operation.
Eight of the boys were brought out on stretchers over the first two days - four each on Sunday and Monday.
The head of the operation, Narongsak Osottanakorn, said earlier the final operation on Tuesday would be "more challenging" because one more survivor would be brought out, along with three Navy SEALs who have been accompanying them.
But he said the rescuers have been learning from experience and were two hours faster in bringing the second batch of survivors out on Monday.
"I hope today we will be faster or the same speed as yesterday," Narongsak said.
A team of foreign divers - including Australians - and Thai Navy SEALS has been guiding the boys out through nearly 4 kilometres of sometimes submerged, pitch-dark channels.
The soccer team and their coach got trapped by a downpour on June 23 when they set out to explore the vast cave complex after soccer practice.
British divers found the 13, huddled on a muddy bank in a partly flooded chamber several kilometres inside the complex, on Monday last week.
The eight boys brought out on Sunday and Monday are in good health overall and some asked for chocolate bread for breakfast, officials said.
Two of the boys had suspected lung infections but the four boys from the first group rescued are all walking around their hospital beds.
They are still being quarantined from their parents because of the risk of infection and would likely be kept in hospital for a week to undergo tests, officials said.