LATEST UPDATE: All 12 boys now rescued from Thailand cave - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

LATEST UPDATE: All 12 boys now rescued from Thailand cave

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By KAWEEWIT KAEWJINDA and STEPHEN WRIGHT
Associated Press
   
MAE SAI, Thailand (AP) -- All 12 boys and their soccer coach have been rescued from a flooded cave in northern Thailand, the Thai navy SEALs said Tuesday, ending an 18-day ordeal that riveted people around the world.
   
The SEALs said on their Facebook page that the remaining four boys and their 25-year-old coach were all brought out safely Tuesday.
   
They said they were waiting for a medic and three SEALs who stayed with the boys in their dark refuge deep inside the cave complex to come out.
   
Eight of the trapped boys had been brought out of the cave by divers on Sunday and Monday.
   
The plight of the boys and their coach has riveted Thailand and much of the world -- from the heart-sinking news that 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 cave that became flooded by monsoon rains while they were exploring it after a soccer practice on June 23.
   
The eight boys brought out by divers over the previous two days were doing well and were in good spirits, a senior health official said.



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MAE SAI, Thailand (AP) -- 
   
An aide to the Thai Navy SEAL commander says four boys were brought out of the flooded cave in northern Thailand on Monday and the ongoing rescue operation is over for the day.
   
The aide, Sitthichai Klangpattana, didn't comment on the boys' health or say how well the operation has gone.
   
A total of eight of the 12 boys have now been brought out of the treacherous cave system by divers, including four who were brought out on Sunday, when the rescue operation began.
   
The boys and their 25-year-old coach have been trapped for more than two weeks after heavy rains flooded the kilometers- long cave network made up of caverns connected by tight passages.


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MAE SAI, Thailand (AP) -- The Latest on the rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach from a cave in northern Thailand (all times local):

12:25 a.m. - The California tunnel company run by Elon Musk is continuing to maintain a presence at the Thai cave where several boys and their soccer coach are awaiting rescue.

Sam Teller, spokesman for Boring Co., said Sunday that the company has four engineers who are "offering support in any way the government deems useful."

Musk tweeted early Saturday that he was working with a team from his Space X rocket company to build a "tiny kid-size submarine" to transport the children.

But Saturday night, he tweeted that the cave was now closed for the rescue by divers. "Will continue testing in LA in case needed later or somewhere else in the future," he wrote.

 Musk says the sub would be light enough to be carried by two divers and small enough to get through narrow cave gaps.
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9:15 p.m.-  The official heading the operation to rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach from a cave in northern Thailand says the operation is going "better than expected."

Chiang Rai provincial acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn made the comment at a news conference Sunday evening after rescuers extracted four of the boys from the cave where they had been trapped for more than two weeks. Narongsak said the four were then taken to a hospital. Their condition was not immediately clear.

Narongsak said the healthiest have been taken out first, and the next phase of the operation would start in 10-20 hours.

He said that 13 foreign and five Thai divers were taking part in the rescue and that two divers would accompany each boy as they're gradually extracted.

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8:05 p.m.- Thai navy SEALs say rescuers have taken four members of a youth soccer team out of the cave where they had been trapped for more than two weeks, part of an operation to rescue the 12 boys and their coach.

The operation to rescue the boys, ages 11-16, and their 25-year-old coach by having them dive out of the flooded cave began Sunday morning, with expert divers entering the sprawling complex for the complicated and dangerous mission.

Chiang Rai province acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn, who is heading the operation, said that 13 foreign and five Thai divers were taking part in the rescue and that two divers would accompany each boy as they're gradually extracted.

The operation began at 10 a.m. Shortly before 8 p.m., the SEALs reported on their official Facebook page that four had been rescued.

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CHIANG RAI, Thailand — A team of divers on Sunday began a rescue operation to try and save 12 boys and their soccer coach from the Thailand cave where they have been trapped for two weeks.

Chiang Rai Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn told reporters at a briefing Sunday that the mission to save the 12 boys and their coach from Tham Luang cave began at 10 a.m. local time.

A total of 18 expert divers — 13 international and five Thai — will proceed deep into the hillside through the waterlogged passages to the chamber where the team is located.

"One boy will be accompanied by two divers. They will come out of the cave one group at a time," Narongsak said.

The first rescue is expected to take hours. Narongsak said the earliest any will come out is 9 p.m. Sunday local time (10 a.m. E.T.).

A Thai army commander, Maj. Gen. Chalongchai Chaiyakam, said the ongoing rescue could take two to four days in all depending on conditions, according to the Associated Press.

Narongsak said that conditions inside the cave were the best they could hope for and that water levels were now so low after days of good weather and constant draining that long stretches of the passage were now walk-able.

"Today is the best day for them to come out," he said. "They really wanted to come out now as well. They are ready both mentally and physically."

An Australian medic has been inside the team's chamber and has confirmed that the boys and their coach are ready and willing to make their escape after over two weeks underground. Medical teams have been preparing for the rescue operation for three days and are ready, Narongsak said.

The boys, aged 11 to 16, and their assistant coach were found inside the cave on Monday after nine days underground. They went missing after they set out to explore the cave on June 23.

Some of the children are poor swimmers, and the journey out of the cave from the chamber they are trapped in takes even experienced Navy SEALs divers as long as five or six hours to complete.

A former Thai navy SEAL, Sanam Kunan, 38, died early Friday after losing consciousnesswhile returning from placing air tanks deep inside the caves. He could not be revived despite the attempts of a fellow diver, officials said.

Speculation that a rescue attempt was imminent was fueled when Thai authorities at 7 a.m. Sunday local time (8 p.m. Saturday ET) ordered the media, including the Thai press, to leave the area around the entrance to the cave, citing a "rescue operation."

As reporters filtered away from the site ahead of the 9 a.m. deadline, they crossed path with army medics and expert divers who were arriving.

They entered the site under brooding clouds spitting steady rain. Until Saturday evening, the torrential downpours that had been forecasted had failed to materialize, giving authorities a window to extract water from the cave and give further cave diving training to the boys. The weather broke around 9 p.m. Saturday though, with a deluge hitting the area.

Several options had been proposed — including drilling holes in the ceiling of the cave to hoist them out and keeping them supplied with sustenance inside the network of passages underneath the mountains on the border of Thailand and Myanmar, as well as scuba-diving the team through the narrow, waterlogged passages.

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