Elite divers hauled four more young footballers out of a flooded Thai cave on Monday, authorities said, bringing to eight the number saved in a stunning rescue mission but still leaving five others trapped.
A Reuters witness near the Tham Luang caves in the northern province of Chiang Rai saw medical personnel carrying four people to waiting ambulances over the course of the day.
A crack team of foreign divers and Thai Navy SEALS guided four boys on Sunday and a further four on Monday through narrow, submerged channels from the muddy bank deep inside the Tham Luang cave where they had been stranded for more than two weeks.
Four of the boys were safely rescued on Sunday after rescuers carried out a risky operation, amid fears the waters will rise again to a unsafe level.
Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda had said early Monday that the same group of expert divers who took part in Sunday's rescue would return to extricate the others because they know the cave conditions and what to do.
Medics appeared to remove one person on a stretcher but hid the person's identity behind multiple white umbrellas.
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A daring rescue operation the likes of which the world has never seen is now underway with the participation of a team of Thai and worldwide divers.
"You start to hallucinate, you see things, you hear things", said Dr. Robert Glatter, emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital. Thai navy SEALs are leading the effort, but more than 90 rescue workers from around the world have been laboring in and around the dark, twisting cave.
The boys and their coach have been trapped in the cave system in the country's north for about two weeks. A search led by Thai navy SEALs and joined by volunteer divers from around the world was fruitless until a pair of British divers came up on the hungry but apparently healthy team. Their families were being kept at a distance because of fears of infection, and the emaciated-looking boys were eating a rice-based porridge because they were still too weak to take regular food, authorities said.
The boys will "be evaluated by doctors for five to seven days", Dr Chokedamrongsook said.
The boys became trapped in the cave on 23 June after heavy rains caused flooding, but were found alive last week by divers.
CNN is reporting that eight of the twelve Thai soccer players have been rescued from the cave today.
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A total of eight boys have now been rescued. On Monday, four more were rushed to a hospital.
Somboon Sompiangjai, 38, whose son Peerapat, known as Night, is still in the cave, said parents had been told they would not be able to visit their sons once rescued.
"We have not been told which child has been brought out".
Narongsak said Monday's rescues involving 18 divers and a support team of 100 had taken nine hours, two fewer than the rescues Sunday.
The cave complex is off-limits during the rainy season, which usually runs from May to October, when downpours can quickly flood it. Relatives said the boys had been inside the complex during the dry season.
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