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All boys, coach rescued from flooded cave in northern Thailand

| Tuesday, July 10, 2018, 7:24 a.m.
An ambulance transporting alleged members of the children's football team approaches the hospital in the northern Thai city of Chiang Rai on July 10, 2018 after being rescued in Tham Luang cave.
AFP/Getty Images
An ambulance transporting alleged members of the children's football team approaches the hospital in the northern Thai city of Chiang Rai on July 10, 2018 after being rescued in Tham Luang cave.
Rescuers walk toward the entrance to a cave complex where five were still trapped, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand Tuesday, July 10, 2018. The eight boys were rescued from the flooded cave. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Rescuers walk toward the entrance to a cave complex where five were still trapped, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand Tuesday, July 10, 2018. The eight boys were rescued from the flooded cave. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
A rescuer moves to the entrance to a cave complex where five still were trapped in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand Tuesday, July 10, 2018. The eight boys were rescued from the flooded cave. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
A rescuer moves to the entrance to a cave complex where five still were trapped in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand Tuesday, July 10, 2018. The eight boys were rescued from the flooded cave. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Rescuers move to the entrance to a cave complex where five stil lwere trapped in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand Tuesday, July 10, 2018. The eight boys were rescued from the flooded cave. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Rescuers move to the entrance to a cave complex where five stil lwere trapped in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand Tuesday, July 10, 2018. The eight boys were rescued from the flooded cave. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
An ambulance leaves the Tham Luang cave area as operations continue for those still trapped inside the cave in Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province on July 10, 2018.
AFP/Getty Images
An ambulance leaves the Tham Luang cave area as operations continue for those still trapped inside the cave in Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province on July 10, 2018.

MAE SAI, Thailand — Thailand's navy SEALs say all 12 boys and their soccer coach have been rescued from a flooded cave in far northern Thailand, ending an ordeal that lasted more than two weeks.

They say the four boys and coach rescued Tuesday, after other rescues in the previous two days, are all safe.

 

The SEALs say they're still waiting for a medic and three Navy SEALs who stayed with the boys to emerge from the cave.

Melbourne's Herald Sun tweeted the news early Tuesday.

Three ambulances, their lights flashing, were seen leaving the site of the flooded cave on Tuesday morning.

Earlier Tuesday, Thai navy SEALS said a ninth boy had been brought out of the cave on the third day of the rescue effort.

The departure of the three ambulances suggests others also have been rescued, but there was no immediate official confirmation.

The 12 boys and their coach were trapped by flooding in the cave more than two weeks ago.

Eight of the 12 trapped boys were brought out of the cave by divers in the past two days. The third day of the intricate and high-risk mission aims to rescue the remaining boys and their coach and also bring out a medic and three Thai Navy SEALs who have stayed with the teenagers in their dark refuge deep within the sprawling cave.

Chiang Rai Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn, who is heading the rescue effort, said earlier that Tuesday's operation began just after 10 a.m. and involved 19 divers.

"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 come out today," he told a news conference to loud cheering.

Nargonsak said this phase may take longer than the previous two rescue missions. The first and longest mission took 11 hours.

The eight boys brought out by divers over the previous two days are in "high spirits" and have strong immune systems because they are soccer players, a senior health official said.

Doctors were being cautious because of the infection risk and were isolating the boys in the hospital. They did get a treat, however: bread with chocolate spread that they'd requested.

The plight of the boys and their coach has riveted Thailand and much of the world - from the heart-sinking news they were missing to the first flickering video of the huddle of anxious yet smiling boys when they were found 10 days later by a pair of British divers. They were trapped in the Tham Luan Nang Non cave that became flooded by monsoon rains while they were exploring it after a soccer practice on June 23.

At a news conference, 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, though they can't yet take the spicy dishes favored by many Thais.

Two of the boys 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," Jedsada 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, Jedsada told a news conference.

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

It was clear doctors were taking a cautious approach. Jedsada 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."

If medical tests show no dangers, after another two days parents will be able to enter the isolation area dressed in sterilized clothing and staying 2 meters away from the boys, said Tosthep Bunthong, Chiang Rai Public Health Chief.

The second group of four rescued on Monday are aged 12 to 14.

At least nine ambulances and a convoy of other vehicles were at the cave site Tuesday.

Heavy rains in the morning cleared during the day, a reassuring sign for rescuers who have feared monsoon rains could imperil the rescue.

Officials scotched any chance of using tech billionaire Elon Musk's mini sub made of rocket parts to rescue the remaining boys.

Narongsak said he was grateful for Musk's support but the equipment was impractical for the rescue mission.

Musk on Tuesday visited the cave and posted pictures and videos online. He said he left the equipment there in case rescuers could use it in the future.

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