All 12 boys and soccer coach rescued from Thai cave
Rescuers have pulled two more boys from the cave complex in northern Thailand on Monday, bringing the number of boys still stranded inside down to five. Their soccer coach remains inside the cave with them.
A total of 12 boys, all part of a youth soccer team known as the Wild Boars, first went missing with their coach more than two weeks ago.
The boys rescued on Monday were being sent to a medical facility on site, an eyewitness who is part of the rescue operations told CNN.
The fifth boy to be rescued from the cave complex in northern Thailand has arrived at a hospital in Chiang Rai. He will join his four teammates already being treated at the newly converted isolation ward at Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital.
Seven boys and their soccer coach still remain in the cave.
The fifth boy to be brought out of the cave system left the site on Monday afternoon by ambulance, an eyewitness at the scene told CNN.
Rescuers brought at least one boy out of the cave system on Monday, according to a witness outside the cave in northern Thailand.
He joins four other boys who were rescued on Sunday from deep inside the cave by a team of international and Thai dive experts.
The boys, all part of a youth soccer team known as the Wild Boars, first went missing over two weeks ago. Last Monday they were discovered huddled on a narrow shelf of rock deep within the flooded cave system.
After a relatively dry day at the rescue site, rain clouds are again hugging the hills surrounding the cave system.
With the exception of a few hours of rain Sunday afternoon, the weather has generally been kind to the rescue efforts, allowing them to pump millions of liters of water out of the flooded cave system, vastly improving conditions.
But the monsoon is an ever-present worry and even a short period of torrential rain could set back rescue efforts for the remaining boys and their coach.
The four rescued boys are in an isolation ward in a nearby hospital, says mission commander Narongsak Osotthanakorn.
They're being held in quarantine for the next couple of days, and are asking for food -- specifically Phad Ka Pao, a Thai dish of minced beef, basil and chilli -- he said.
The boys endured nine days of little or no food while inside the cave, before being found by British divers on July 2. One of the first things they asked for was food.
In a joint letter to their parents delivered on Saturday, the boys said "we really want to go out and eat so many types of food."
The youngest, Chanin Viboonrungruang, said he wanted to eat fried chicken when he was finally rescued.
His father, Tanawat Viboonrungruang explained to CNN that the boy's letter was referring to a promise made to the boy by his aunt go to the local KFC.
Mission commander Narongsak Osotthanakorn confirmed that Monday's attempt to rescue more boys from the cave began at 11 a.m. local time (12 p.m. ET).
It involves the same divers -- with a "few swapped out" -- who carried out Sunday's treacherous operation which took nine hours and led to the rescue of four boys.
He said that the team "hope to hear good news soon."
The second attempt started up after rescue workers got some rest and refilled supplies.
Amporn Sriwichai, the aunt of 25-year-old coach Akkapol Chanthawong, says she wants people to understand that he is a good person, and did not mean for the boys to become trapped. She tells CNN that he was orphaned at the age of 10 and has experienced "many difficulties."
He wants nothing more than to give back and help others, she says.
While trapped in the cave, the young coach wrote a letter to his aunt and grandmother, who raised him.
To my aunt and grandmother,I'm OK, don't worry about me too much. Take care of your health. Aunt, please tell grandmother to make a vegetable drink and crispy pork when I get out. I will go and eat it. Love to everybody.
He also wrote to the parents of the boys with him, begging them for forgiveness. In response, they wrote back:
We believe in you and your spirit that you've been taking a good care of our kids. We just want you to know that this is not your fault.
At least five ambulances have returned to cave entrance as divers make their way through flooded tunnels to reach 8 boys and their coach who are still trapped.
The operation recently restarted after a morning of preparation, which included refilling oxygen tanks used in Sunday's rescue mission.
Four of the boys were carried out of the cave late Sunday, and are receiving medical attention in the nearby city of Chiang Rai.