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Thailand cave rescue boys 'in good health but hungry' as divers prepare to free remaining youngsters and coach together

Mirror logo Mirror 10-07-2018 Natalie Evans
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All eight boys rescued so far after two weeks trapped in a Thai cave are in good health overall - and even asking for chocolate for breakfast, officials said today.

"At this moment (there are) no worrisome conditions, everyone is safe," Thailand's Health Secretary, Jesada Chokedamrongsuk, told reporters.

a person posing for the camera: Monhkhol Boonpiam, 13, known as Mark, was the first one rescued © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Monhkhol Boonpiam, 13, known as Mark, was the first one rescued Two of the boys had suspected lung infections but the four boys from the first group rescued were all walking around their beds.

"The kids are footballers, are strong and have high immunity," Jesada said when asked why they survived so long.

a person posing for the camera: The second boy was Prajak Sutham, known as Note © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited The second boy was Prajak Sutham, known as Note The boys had a good appetite but were mainly being given bland, easily digestible foods. However, doctors later relented after some of the boys asked for bread with chocolate topping.

They are still being quarantined from their parents because of the risk of infection and would likely be kept in hospital for a week to undergo tests, officials said.

a person posing for the camera: The third was Nattawoot Thakamsai, a 14-year-old asthma sufferer © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited The third was Nattawoot Thakamsai, a 14-year-old asthma sufferer The first boy out was Monhkhol Boonpiam, 13, known as Mark. The second boy was Prajak Sutham, known as Note.

The third was Nattawoot Thakamsai, a 14-year-old asthma sufferer - whose parents have already lost a baby daughter to cancer.

a man and a woman looking at the camera: Pipat Bodhi, 15, was the fourth youngster rescued from the caves © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Pipat Bodhi, 15, was the fourth youngster rescued from the caves The fourth was Pipat Bodhu, 15, aka Nick, who was not even in the team but came along as a friend of the goalkeeper.

The group will be kept under observation in hospital for a week.

a group of people sitting at a table: Medical officials gave an update on the boys' condition on Tuesday © Provided by Credits: AFP Medical officials gave an update on the boys' condition on Tuesday The update on the boys' condition came as rescuers resumed preparations for a third operation to free four remaining boys and their football coach who remain trapped deep in the cave complex in northern Thailand.

The third phase of an operation began on Tuesday morning, the head of the rescue mission said.

The heroic rescue in pictures - Provided by Reuters

Narongsak Osottanakorn told a news conference the latest rescue operation began at about 10.08am local time (4.08am UK).

"All five will be brought out at the same time today," he said, to cheers from reporters and rescue workers.

Four more of the boys were carried on stretchers out of the labyrinthine Tham Luang cave on the Myanmar border on Monday, bringing to eight the total number brought out so far after two rescue pushes in successive days.

a group of people walking down a dirt road: An ambulance transports one of the rescued boys © Provided by Credits: REUTERS An ambulance transports one of the rescued boys Narongsak said rescuers had learned from experience and were two hours faster in bringing the second batch of survivors out as scattered monsoon rains continued to risk flooding the tunnels with water.

A crack team of foreign divers and Thai Navy SEALs guided the boys during a nine-hour operation through nearly 4 km (2.5 miles) of sometimes submerged channels from where they have been trapped for more than a fortnight.

a person in a dark room: Rescuers wade in the flooded Tham Luang cave © Provided by Credits: REUTERS Rescuers wade in the flooded Tham Luang cave People across Thailand cheered the rescue operation, including at the Mae Sai Prasitsart school where six of the trapped boys are students.

"I am very happy about those who already made it out and I think everyone will be out today," said Waranchit Karnkaew, 14, who also said the football-mad boys had been closely following games at the World Cup in Russia before they were trapped.

a group of people traveling down a dirt road © Provided by Credits: Getty Images AsiaPac "I want to take my friends to lunch and we will play football together," he told Reuters.

Soccer's governing body, FIFA, has invited the boys to the World Cup final in Moscow on Sunday if they make it out in time.

a person riding on the back of a truck © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Rescue organisers say they need 20 hours to replan and replenish oxygen supplies, with the next rescue mission expected to come some time on Tuesday afternoon, weather permitting.

However, organisers declined to confirm whether they would attempt to bring all five out in the third push, with the plan so far being to bring out four at a time.

The boys and their coach became trapped on June 23 © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited The boys and their coach became trapped on June 23 "It is up to the environment. If the rain god helps us, then we may be able to work fast. But if the rain god doesn't help, then it could be challenging," Narongsak said.

The plight of the boys and their coach has drawn international attention, with divers, engineers and medics among others flying in from around the world to assist.

a group of people riding on the back of a motorcycle © Provided by Credits: AFP Technology billionaire Elon Musk went into the cave on Monday and left the rescue team with a "kid-sized" submarine his company SpaceX had built, Thailand's interior Minister Anupong Paochinda said.

Musk said on Twitter: "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."

a green truck parked in front of a building © Provided by Credits: REX/Shutterstock Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha visited the cave to inspect the operation and was quoted by Narongsak as saying he didn't want to see this kind of incident happen again on Thai soil.

The "Wild Boars" team became trapped on June 23 when they set out to explore the cave after soccer practice and rains flooded the tunnels.

a truck that is driving down the street © Provided by Credits: REUTERS

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