Thailand cave rescue team begin operation to free last of trapped boys

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Officials lavished praise on the Thai and worldwide divers who executed the risky rescue mission, guiding boys who can barely swim and have no diving experience through a treacherous 4-kilometer-long (2 1/2-mile) escape route that twisted and turned and rose and fell inside the mountain cave complex.

Cave rescue experts have said they consider an underwater escape to be a last resort, especially with people untrained in diving.

They will join four other boys who were rescued on Sunday.

The leaders overseeing the desperate and unsafe rescue of 12 young soccer players and their coach from a flooded cave labyrinth in northern Thailand were only half joking when they quipped that success was in the hands of the rain god Phra Pirun.

Four other youngsters and their soccer coach are still inside.

The current rescue operation is not, Tracy said, "the preferred option".

The final part of the operation to rescue a boys' football team from a cave in Thailand has begun. Having completed this section, the boys are then handed over to separate, specialist rescue teams, who help assist them through the remainder of the cave, much of which they can wade through. Officials have yet to confirm the identities of the four boys freed.

On Sunday, officials said it could "take days" to rescue the remaining boys and their coach. Divers escorted the children, who wore equipment to help them breathe.

Rain and mist soak the area as soldiers arrive near Tham Luang cave, where divers again entered on Tuesday to bring out the remaining trapped footballers, in Tham Luang Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai.

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Tragedy strikes: a diver helping to establish an air line to the boys dies after passing out while returning from the chamber, raising serious doubts over the safety of attempting a rescue.

The Thai Navy SEAL wrote on Facebook on Tuesday it's expecting day three's rescue operations to be longer than previous days. The rescue effort is slowed somewhat by the fact that the team must replenish supplies and oxygen tanks that line the 2.5-mile route out of the cave.

Narongsak would not identify the rescued boys.

Narongsak said rescuers would meet Monday evening to plan for the next operation.

The parents are able to see their kids through a glass window, but they are not allowed to make physical contact with them because docs are concern about infection.

As an worldwide coalition of divers continued to rescue a Thai soccer team and their coach from a cave Monday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk was trying to help in his own inimitable way.

Somboon Sompiangjai is the father of one of the 12 boys. The extraction started on Sunday and eight of the children have been successfully brought out.

"(They) will be extracted today", rescue chief Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters, adding the journey out should be faster than on previous days.

Crowds at the teeming rescue site cheer the good news, but attention soon turns to the hard task of getting the boys out safely.

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