Four more boys were brought out Monday from the flooded cave in Chiang Rai after four others were rescued on Sunday. But heavy rain overnight has increased the danger that the water levels in the caves will rise further, adding to the hazards of diving and potentially threatening the elevated bank of sand on which the football team are stranded.
The saga is not over yet, though: As of late Tuesday, a doctor and three Navy SEALs remained in the cave, and the Weather Channel says more monsoonal rains are increasing the risk of flooding.
He posted photos of the cave interior and a video showing members of the rescue team working their way through chest-high water.
Two boys rescued Tuesday are still being treated at an on-site medical center, while two others have been transported to a nearby hospital where eight of their teammates are recuperating after being rescued Sunday and Monday.
Doctors attending to the eight boys who have been rescued from the cave in two groups of four on Sunday and Monday say they are generally in good health - an incredible result for the boys who have spent nine days incommunicado, without food, until they were found, and then waited days more before embarking on an hours-long dive that even the most skilled cave divers have described as among the most risky they have attempted.
"All five will be brought out at the same time today", he said, to cheers from reporters and rescue workers. Eight children have been rescued. "Everyone is in high spirits and are happy to get out".
The eight boys rescued after being trapped for more than two weeks were described as generally healthy. They were not allowed to visit the hospital where the boys were taken.
The Associated Press reports that the families of the boys "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". "But we will have a psychiatrist to evaluate them".
A massive worldwide search operation was launched and it took 10 days to locate the boys, who had taken shelter on a dry slope, deep in the complex. Rescuers have been transporting the rescued boys via helicopter and ambulance to the nearby hospital.Lauren DeCicca/Getty ImagesOnlookers watch and cheer as ambulances deliver the boys from the cave, July 8.
The second group of four rescued on Monday are aged 12 to 14.
It was clear that doctors were taking a cautious approach.
The boys and their coach first went missing on June 23.
Tuesday, referring to the name of the trapped boys' soccer team.
Authorities have said extracting the entire team from the cave could take up to four days, but Sunday's success raised hopes that it could be done faster. They did get a treat, however: bread with chocolate spread that they'd requested. The children reportedly wore full-faced masks while clinging to the bodies of rescue divers. Rescue efforts were then suspended for up to 20 hours because they had used up all the oxygen and needed to replenish supplies.
Rescue chief Narongsak Osatanakorn said efforts were expected "quicker or at least as quick as yesterday".
Officials scotched any chance of using tech billionaire Elon Musk's mini-sub made of rocket parts to rescue the remaining boys.