Boys Freed From Thailand Cave as Rescue Mission Begins

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The extraction team began the unsafe operation at 10am local time and the families of the missing boys have been informed.

On Sunday four members of the "Wild Boar" team were successfully brought out from the cave, after authorities decided they had to rush ahead with a rescue operation to beat monsoon rains.

Rescue chief Narongsak Osottanakorn said the four had been taken to hospital and were "safe". Operation chief Narongsak Osottanakorn said a total of 90 divers would be involved in the rescue mission, with 40 divers from Thailand, and 50 from overseas, including the United States, Australia, China, and Europe, according to the Washington Post.

The rescue operation is racing time and the weather during Thailand's rainy season. On Sunday, divers rescued four, and plans were underway to go back in for a second rescue early Monday morning.

Eight boys and the coach remain trapped, and the ordeal has been a closely watched news story around the globe. Osatanakorn said the rescue, which began at 10 a.m. Sunday local time, has been going better than expected.

"I would like to inform the public at home and those who have been giving us support all along, after 16 days, today's the day we've been waiting for, we are seeing the Wild Boars in the flesh now".

The rescue mission began after rain soaked the Tham Luang Cave area in northern Chiang Rai, heightening the risks in what the governor previously called a "war with water and time".

The same journey took six hours before pumps lowered the water level.

Two divers will accompany each of the boys, all of whom have been learning to dive only since July 2, when the first searchers found them.

The Thai navy SEALS confirmed that four boys have left the cave.

Underscoring the danger in the fast-moving waters, a former Thai navy SEAL died on Friday while moving the canisters, reportedly because of lack of oxygen.

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The rescue divers and boys in Thailand must dive, swim and climb their way to safety along a pitch-black tunnel that at certain points is barely big enough to allow an adult to wriggle through.

An official from Thailand's Forestry Department said that despite heavy rains overnight on Sunday, "the water levels are still stable".

Officials wouldn't say how much diving the boys would be required to do in the rescue operation.

Officials feared that an incoming storm could send water flooding back into the cave and make an escape even more hard for the boys, ages 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach. After the four boys were removed from the cave, heavy rain started falling.

He added doctors assessed they were "very fit physically and mentally".

Two of them, John Volanthen and Rick Stanton, were the ones who found the boys on Monday three miles inside the Tham Luang cave complex.

America and Britain joined the local rescue team, and sent in more than 30 American military personnel alongside pararescue and survival specialists.

On Sunday, Musk tweeted a series of videos showing a team of divers testing the pod in the swimming pool at Palisades Charter High School.

The boys sounded calm and reassuring in handwritten notes to their families that were made public Saturday.

One of the boys, identified as Tun, wrote: "Mom and Dad, please don't worry, I am fine".

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