Thai cave rescue underway: First boys emerge safely

The rescue is underway of 12 young boys and their soccer coach who have been trapped in a cave in Thailand for more than two weeks.

At least four of the 12 boys trapped in a cave in northern Thailand for nearly two weeks have been successfully rescued, the Thai navy SEALs said Sunday. Rescue officials told Reuters that the rescued boys were being treated and transported to a local hospital.

The acting Chiang Rai governor told reporters Sunday was "D-Day," with 13 foreigner and five Thai divers taking part in the rescue.

Thai officials said Saturday they are worried that heavy monsoon rain could soon make the job even more difficult and they may need to quickly rescue the boys and the soccer coach from a partially flooded cave by helping them make risky dives to safety.

The boys, ages 11-16, and their 25-year-old coach became stranded when they went exploring in the cave after a practice game. Monsoon flooding cut off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for almost 10 days.

Narongsak Osottanakorn, who is in charge of the rescue mission, said Saturday conditions were currently "perfect," BBC News reports.

"Now and in the next three or four days, the conditions are perfect [for evacuation] in terms of the water, the weather and the boys' health," said Narongsak, governor of the Chiang Rai province, where the caves are.

The Thai navy SEALs, who have been spearheading the rescue effort, have posted a photo on their Facebook page with a vow to bring the trapped team home from a flooded cave.

The unit says in a message: "We, the Thai team and the international team, will bring the Wild Boars home." That's the name of the young boys' team.

Two divers will be assigned to each child to help them navigate the dangerous, narrow passageways. CBS News has also learned that water level inside the cave has been brought down to a level where the boys can walk for much for the journey rather than swim. That will make the operation less risky.

Heavy rain is in the forecast and oxygen levels in the cave have been dropping to dangerous levels.

It's estimated that it will take the divers several hours to reach the boys, and then several hours to return. Each rescue is estimated to take about 11 hours, officials said.

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