Thai cave rescue resumes on day three

Panu Wongcha-um
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Thailand-Cave Search

This photo tweeted by Elon Musk shows rescuers trying to bring back the Thai boys from the cave

Rescuers have resumed a rescue operation for a third day to free four remaining boys and their soccer coach trapped in a cave in northern Thailand.

Four more of the boys were carried on stretchers out of the cave on Monday, bringing to eight the total number brought out so far after two rescues in successive days.

Local governor Narongsak Osatanakorn said Tuesday's rescue operation began just after 10am local time and involves 19 divers.

A medic and three Thai Navy SEALs who have stayed with the boys on a small, dry shelf deep in the flooded cave will also come out, he said.

"We expect that if there is no unusual condition ... the four boys, one coach, the doctor, and three SEALs who have been with the boys since the first day will will come out today," he told a press conference to loud cheering.

Nargonsak said this phase may take longer than the previous two rescue missions, which both lasted several hours.

Jedsada Chokdumrongsuk, permanent secretary at the Public Health Ministry, said the first four boys rescued, aged 12 to 16, are now able to eat normal food.

Two of them possibly have a lung infection but all eight are generally "healthy and smiling," he said.

"The kids are footballers so they have high immune systems," Jesada said. "Everyone is in high spirits and are happy to get out. But we will have a psychiatrist to evaluate them."

It could be at least seven days before they can be released from hospital, Jesada said.

Family members have seen at least some of the boys from behind a glass isolation barrier, and Jesada said doctors may let the boys walk around their beds on Tuesday.

Jesada said they were uncertain what type of infections the boys could face "because we have never experienced this kind of issue from a deep cave."