A Thai governor says the operation to bring out 12 schoolboys and their soccer coach from deep inside a cave where they have been trapped for two weeks has begun.
The process is extremely risky, but officials say waters right now are at their optimal level inside the cave after a few days of better weather - and they're anxious about the potential for more rains to fill the flooded caves even further.
An additional eight boys, ages 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach are still inside the Tham Luang cave, where they've been trapped by flood waters since June 23. The rising water filled large stretches of the cave, cutting off the team's escape route and keeping rescuers from finding the team for 10 days, CBS News noted.
Though four boys have been rescued as of Sunday night, the mission to extract the rest could take two to four days depending on the conditions in the cave.
In this image made from video, Narongsak Osatanakorn, Chiang Rai Province acting Governor and head of the rescue operation, speaks to the media during a briefing on the cave rescue plans in Chiang Rai, Thailand on July 8, 2018. By then, the group had spent 10 days cut off from the outside world. The pause will give divers time to prepare gear, including masks and refilling air tanks, for the next round of rescue efforts.
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The boys were immediately taken to the hospital for evaluation after being trapped underground for almost two weeks. The first group could be out of the cave by 9:00 pm local time (2:00 pm GMT) on Sunday.
Officials did not clarify this morning whether the complex effort to dive the team out of the kilometres-long Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand had started.
"People don't understand how much gear these guys have", Zweig said of the rescuers. "We have tried all possible ways to get the boys out, but sometimes we can't win over nature".
Thai rescuers are being assisted by an global team comprising experts from China, Australia, the United States and Britain. "The teams here are happy the boys are being rescued but also anxious about the severity of the boys' conditions".
"Don't be anxious, I miss everyone".