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8th person rescued from Thailand cave

A Thai medical personnel in an ambulance is seen through a green tarpaulin cover assisting in emergency evacuation of an alleged member of a children's football team on arrival at a hospital, in the northern Thai city of Chiang Rai on July 9, 2018.

[MAE SAI, Thailand] More than half of the soccer team trapped in a Thailand cave complex has now been rescued, Thai navy SEALS said on Facebook. Four people were evacuated from the cave Monday evening in a daring rescue that seemed to defy the odds.

The four survivors rescued Monday have been admitted to the hospital, said local officials who did not want to be identified.

Those rescues bring the total to eight, after two days, although local officials would not confirm any details as of 8.30 pm local time Monday. Twelve players of the Wild Boars soccer team and their coach were trapped in the flooded cave complex June 23.

"2 days, 8 Boars," said a message on the Thai navy SEALS Facebook page.

Announcing that a new rescue operation had begun, the head of the operation, Narongsak Osottanakorn, said that the pace would be faster than Sunday.

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He said divers had replenished air tanks and tightened guide ropes along the treacherous underwater route leading to the remote cavern where the soccer team had sheltered.

"The equipment is ready," he said at a news conference. "The boys are ready."

Officials said that a new weir, or low dam, built outside the cave was helping to keep water levels relatively stable within. The weather was cooperating, too: After a day of torrential downpours Sunday, things cleared up Monday.

At the hospital in Chiang Rai province, the four boys who were rescued Sunday were in stable condition, according to Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda. Mongkol Boonpiam, one of the boys who was listed among the rescued on a Facebook messenger group used by some of the parents, was considered to have been the weakest of those trapped.

Relatives of the rescued boys are not able to visit them in their rooms because of concerns about infection, Mr Narongsak said.

"We will be waiting for more good news," said Rattana Maksuk, an administrator and teacher at the Mae Sai Prasitsart School, which is attended by six of the boys who were trapped in the cave complex.

Sunday's rescue required 90 divers, more than half of them foreign, to navigate flooded and pitch-black terrain, some of it menaced by strong currents. Few, if any, of the trapped boys know how to swim, and the four who were brought out in the first batch were shepherded by divers who held them and provided them with full-face masks.


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