Boys Freed From Thailand Cave as Rescue Mission Begins

Thailand Navy SEALs Confirm Multiple Boys of Youth Soccer Team Rescued from Cave

His updates came after USA and Thai officials confirmed Sunday that four boys had been rescued from a flooded cave network after spending 15 days trapped along with their soccer team and coach.

The "Wild Boars" team has been confined to the Tham Luang cave since June 23, when they went in after practice and were hemmed in by monsoon floods.

Meanwhile, as CNN reported on Sunday, the rescue effort in Thailand has assembled divers and Navy Seal personnel from various countries including the United States and Thailand itself, which saw one elite diver die on Friday during the operation to save the boys. "It is only a small battle we've won, but the war has not ended", Chiang Rai acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn said, according to the AP.

An Australian doctor who was part of the rescue mission assessed the boys' health on Saturday night and cleared them for the rescue mission, Reuters said.

Of the 13-strong foreign dive team - mainly from Europe - three escorted the children, while the remainder were positioned along the unsafe first kilometre stretch, where the boys had to navigate through submerged passageways in some places no more than two feet (0.6 metre) wide.

"Today is D-Day", Narongsak Osottanakorn, head of the rescue mission, had earlier told reporters.

Those who joined the extraction Sunday will have a meeting to discuss the next operation. After the boys emerge from the cave, they will be taken in an ambulance to be evacuated from the cave site via helicopter, provided weather conditions are safe for flying.

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Thai authorities have confirmed that four members of the football team that was left stranded in a cave have now been rescued.

U.S. President Donald Trump also tweeted about the rescue Sunday morning, congratulating the U.S. government for working with the Thai government to help get all of the children out of the cave safely.

The 12 boys, aged between 11 and 16, and their coach, 25, went missing in Tham Luang Nang Non cave in northern Thailand's Chiang Rai Province on June 23. They will be accompanied by an "all-star" team of 13 worldwide and five Thai divers, officials said.

The rescue mission began on Sunday morning, almost a week since the 12 boys, aged 11-16, and their coach had been discovered on an embankment 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) inside the winding tunnels.

In all, 13 foreign divers and five Thai SEALS are involved in the rescue, which requires a treacherous, 2.4-mile journey through the cave complex.

"We will still maintain our planned mission and the two main obstacles are time and water", a spokesperson said.

The area outside the Chiang Rai hospital was cordoned off by police.

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