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"All four boys have arrived at hospital, all are safe", Narongsak Osottanakorn, head of the rescue mission, told reporters of those rescued on Monday.

The boys and their coach, whose team is known as the Wild Boars, became stranded when they were exploring the cave after a practice game on June 23.

Cave divers in Thailand have extracted four more boys in the second high-risk operation to rescue the football team trapped in a vast flood cave system.

But the rains stopped on Monday, and the mission resumed at 11 a.m. local time.

The rescue operation was started on Sunday as more rain is expected this week, which would make it harder to rescue the boys.

The rescue team are facing a race against time to get the remaining boys out before oxygen levels in the cave get even lower and before even more rain falls during the monsoon season, which lasts until October.

Divers held the boys close to bring them out, and each had to wear an oxygen mask to enable normal breathing, authorities said.

Hundreds of spectators and journalists have gathered in the area around the cave, hoping for news that the boys and their coach would emerge safely.

The perilous rescues have involved two divers accompanying each boy, all of whom have been learning to dive since July 2, when searchers found them. It is about two kilometres from the entrance. Since then, an worldwide team of engineers, rescuers and divers has been delivering supplies and food to the children and their coach ― and mulling ways to best help them escape. Officials have said storms forecast for Chiang Rai province in Thailand's far north had factored into their decision to go ahead with a complicated and unsafe plan to have the boys and their coach dive out of the cave.

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They, were flown by helicopter from the Tham Luang cave to the Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital, located at the heart of Chiang Rai province, about 70 km (40 miles) away. Kanet said the boys will be treated as disaster victims and given psychological evaluations and other assistance after their ordeal. The families have not yet been able to interact with the boys out of fears of infection.

A Reuters witness near the Tham Luang cave in the northern province of Chiang Rai saw medical personnel carrying two people out of the cave to waiting ambulances on Monday evening.

"Living in a cave has a different environment, which might contain animals that could transmit any disease", they said.

"Visitors will only be allowed to meet and talk to the patients", he said. He said that process can take several hours.

Somboon Sompiangjai, 38, the father of one of the trapped boys, said parents had been told by rescuers that the "strongest children" would be brought out first.

Shortly after, ambulances were seen racing toward the nearby city of Chiang Rai down roads that had been cleared of traffic to smooth the journey. Onlookers were seen watching and cheering as they drove by.

The world has been hooked on the fate of the group of Thai boys trapped in a cave and the heroic attempts to rescue them.

Thai authorities revealed that the first phase was executed "smoothly" and the boys who had been evacuated were in "good health". So the sub still could come into play on a third day of rescues.


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