MAE SAI, Thailand — Rescuers working at a cave site in northern Thailand have suspended operations for the day after bringing four more boys out of the flooded cave system Monday, according to a witness working with the rescue team, bringing the total number of rescued boys to eight.
Four more boys and their coach remain trapped inside the Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex.
The first boy to emerge Monday was seen on a stretcher. He was taken by helicopter and ambulance to the same hospital in Chiang Rai where the first four boys rescued Sunday by a team of international and Thai dive experts are being treated.
Two more boys left the Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex a short time later and were taken to a medical facility on site, followed soon after by a fourth boy, according to the eyewitness, who is stationed at the entrance to the cave.
The 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.
On June 25, they were discovered huddled on a narrow rock shelf deep within the flooded cave system.
At a news conference Monday, former Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn said the second rescue involved many of the same divers who brought the four boys out on Sunday.
Five ambulances were seen driving toward the cave complex on Monday afternoon, and at least one helicopter was also seen heading toward the cave entrance.
Officials said late Sunday they’d need to pause the operation for at least 10 hours to fill oxygen tanks that had been depleted during the first phase of the rescue mission.
The four boys rescued Sunday are recovering in a nearby hospital and are yet to see their parents. A family member said they hadn’t been told which boys had been pulled out, and who is still trapped in the cave.
A relative of one member of the soccer team said that the boys’ families had agreed to remain at the cave until all of the boys and the coach are brought out.
Authorities have refused to confirm names reported in local media, but in the small town of Mae Sai where the cave is located, it’s all anybody is talking about.