Thai cave rescue: Four more boys extracted in second operation

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Thais have been fixated on the crisis, hoping desperately for the safe return of the 12 boys and their 25-year-old football coach, after they ventured into the Tham Luang cave complex after practice and became trapped by rising waters more than a fortnight ago. They were in good condition in hospital, officials said.

Authorities have been rushing to extract the boys, ages 11-16, and their coach from the cave as the annual monsoon bears down on the mountainous region in far northern Chiang Rai province.

The divers also brought out touching notes for the families written by some of the trapped boys.

The letter signed by Infantino invited the team and their coach to the World Cup final in Russian Federation on Sunday (NZT 3am Monday), should they be rescued in time and were healthy enough to travel to Moscow.

The saga has dominated global headlines, with the team spending nine days unaccounted for inside the cave, before British divers found the emaciated and dishevelled group huddling on a muddy bank above the flooding.

Following the initial rescues Sunday, the operation was paused for about 10 hours while divers replenished air tanks along the exit tunnel.

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.

Alluding to that worry, the regional army commander offered his thanks Monday to the rain god Phra Pirun, imploring him to "keep showing us mercy".

He said he sent a small submarine to Thailand; it is expected to arrive Monday night local time.

Giving an update on the four boys pulled from the cave Sunday, Narongsak said, "This morning, they said they were hungry and wanted to eat khao pad grapao" - a popular Thai rice dish of meat stir-fried with basil and chili peppers.

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"In the cave we have more than 100 staff. for guide ropes, to fill tanks and 18 divers to get the kids", Narongsak said.

They were all carried out on stretchers and into ambulances before being airlifted to the Chiang Rai Pranukroh Hospital, where the four players rescued on Sunday are recovering.

Musk has been tweeting about the rescue effort for days and said he is "amazed by the bravery, resilience & tenacity of kids & diving team in Thailand". There was no word on the condition of any of the people brought out on Monday. After Monday's rescues, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha visited the eight freed boys in the hospital where they had been taken by helicopter.

The president of soccer's governing body, FIFA, has invited the boys to the World Cup final in Moscow on Sunday if they make it out in time. On Sunday, four boys were safely evacuated from the cave.

Adesman said that PTSD is an issue for protracted trauma, and he's optimistic the worst is behind the boys trapped in the cave. They were quickly transported to a hospital in the town of Chiang Rai, the provincial capital.

Relatives were able to see them through a glass partition, Narongsak said.

Medical teams previously said concerns included hypothermia and an airborne lung infection known as "cave disease", which is caused by bat and bird droppings.

A video published by the Thai PBS channel earlier on Monday also showed a person on a stretcher - most likely the first boy to be rescued on Monday - being transferred to a helicopter.

"We have not been told which child has been brought out ..."