MAE SAI, Thailand — The last four boys and their coach were rescued from a cave in northern Thailand on Tuesday, the third day of operations to rescue the Wild Boars team from the cavern where they have been trapped for more than two weeks.
The Thai navy SEALs announced the news on Facebook, saying that the team that stayed with the team was still working its way to the mouth of the cave.
“Twelve wild boars and coach is out of the cave. Everyon safe,” the post said. “Waiting to pick up 4 Frogs. Hooyah.”
Torrential rain fell overnight and through the morning in the area of the Tham Luang cave complex, where the Wild Boars youth soccer team got stranded on June 23. In the cave, water levels have remained stable.
“Barring abnormal factors, all (the boys and their coach) will be out today,” acting Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters earlier.
Nineteen rescue divers were taking part in the operation, which is expected to move more quickly than in the previous two days. It took 11 hours on Sunday to retrieve the first four boys, and nine hours to retrieve another four on Monday.
“We hope it will be even faster than yesterday,” Narongsak said Tuesday.
However the Thai navy SEALs posted on Facebook that the day “will be longer than previous ones,” because three SEALs and one medic who stayed with the boys will also be coming out of the cave.
“We will celebrate together finally. Hooyah!” the Facebook post added.
The eight rescued boys were taken to a hospital in the nearby city of Chiang Rai. All are in good condition, public health officials said Tuesday.
The first four boys, aged 14-16, had low body temperatures and two were diagnosed with lung infections, Jessada Chokdamrongsuk, Thailand’s permanent secretary for health, told reporters at Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital, according to the Bangkok Post.
The second group of four rescued Monday, aged 12-14, also had low body temperatures and one had an irregular heartbeat, but by Tuesday morning all four boys were normal, Jesada said.
“The kids are footballers so they have high immune systems,” Jesada said. “Everyone is in high spirits and are happy to get out. But we will have a psychiatrist to evaluate them.”
Four boys and their 25-year-old soccer coach remained deep in the cave at the start of Tuesday, before CNN and other media reported that three more boys were rescued. The soccer team and coach were exploring the caves when they were trapped inside by floods.
The rescued boys are still being held in quarantine while lab tests are being done and have not been able to have direct contact with their parents yet. Parents of the first group of four were able to meet their children through a glass partition, Jessada said.
It could be at least seven days before they can be released from hospital, Jesada told reporters, according to The Associated Press.
Postcards, letters and drawings from around Thailand have been pouring into a local government office near the cave that is being used as the media and volunteer center.
“I don’t care which team wins the World Cup — the only team I follow is our Wild Boars,” one read.
“Please get out fast!” read another. “I’m getting stressed about your situation.”
Someone else wrote in English: “Dear Mr. Soldier, Thank you very much for giving your time to find the lost boys. We pray that you will see them very soon.”
SpaceX and Tesla chief executive Elon Musk said he went to the cave with a miniature submarine to try and help the boys.
“Just returned from Cave 3. Mini-sub is ready if needed. It is made of rocket parts & named Wild Boar after kids’ soccer team. Leaving here in case it may be useful in the future,” he tweeted Monday.
Contributing: The Associated Press