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Four boys freed but rest must wait

Four boys freed but rest must wait

Their condition was not immediately clear.

Some officials initially said that the boys could remain where they were - on a dry rock ledge near a point inside the cave known as Pattaya Beach - for up to several months as long as they were supplied with food and medicines.

18 divers, 13 foreign and five from Thailand, reportedly entered the cave system at around 10am local time.

A team of 13 global cave diving experts and five Thai divers entered the precarious cave system at 10am local time on Sunday, after attempts to drill through to them were abandoned.

A little before 5pm local time (10am GMT) a fifth boy was reported rescued after a six-hour operation. The four freed boys have been transported to the hospital, where they will be reunited with their families. He said the operation began at 10 a.m., and it will take at least 11 hours for the first person to be taken out of the cave.

Officials had looked at many different ways to save the boys and their coach.

But the survival of those remaining in the cave is far from guaranteed with extraction efforts put on hold until Monday morning to allow rescue divers time to resupply.

He added, "It's up for them to deliberate".

The rescue operation has attracted worldwide attention and involved expert cave divers from countries including the US, Australia, UK and China. "With the entire round trip taking roughly 11 hours to complete, it could be days before the entire group emerges".

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On Sunday night, Thai navy SEALs posted a celebratory note on their Facebook page, saying: "Have sweet dreams everyone. If that's the case, then we have to reassess the situation", he said. That's the name of the young boys' team. Officials recognize that they have to finish the recuses quickly, before seasonal monsoon rains arrive and flood the caves even further.

The mission was only launched on Sunday morning because floodwaters inside the cave were at their lowest level in days.

Four boys of 13 trapped in a northern Thailand cave have been brought out through an underwater evacuation, a member of the rescue team said on condition of anonymity Sunday.

Narongsak said Saturday that experts told him water from new rain could shrink the unflooded space where the boys are sheltering to just 10 square meters (108 square feet).

The rescue got off to a good start, with the first boy coming out at 5.40pm local time (11.40am United Kingdom time).

They were followed shortly afterwards by four others, leading to an explosion of jubilation on social media in Thailand and around the world as the rescued boys were rushed to hospital. "We have tried all possible ways to get the boys out, but sometimes we can't win over nature". Reports say the soccer team and their coach had visited the cave a few years ago.

Nine people remained trapped in the cave, including the team's coach, after four boys were rescued on Sunday, the first day of the rescue operation. The second boy came out 10 minutes later. The rescuers and boys will have to contend with navigating tight passageways filled with muddy water and strong currents, as well as with oxygen-depleted air. An Australian doctor with cave diving experience examined the boys on Sunday and declared them fit for the operation. The path out is considered especially complicated because of twists and turns in narrow flooded passages.

Mild weather and a break in the rain had lowered the water to the lowest levels since the boys were found.