A Thai military official later confirmed that a boy had emerged around 5 p.m. local time (6 a.m. ET). A rescued boy emerged on a stretcher just before 4:30 p.m. local time Monday and was taken by a helicopter and ambulance to the same hospital in Chiang Rai where the first four boys, who were rescued Sunday by a team of worldwide and Thai divers, are being treated.
Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda had said early Monday that the same group of expert divers who took part in Sunday's rescue would return to extricate the others because they know the cave conditions and what to do.
The footballers were found by the British divers on late Monday night, with footage showing them visibly weak and huddled on a mud mound deep inside the Tham Luang cave.
An ambulance with flashing lights left the site just hours after the second phase of the perilous rescue operation was launched on Monday. Four boys and their coach remained inside the cave.
Four of the boys were safely rescued on Sunday after rescuers carried out a risky operation, amid fears the waters will rise again to a unsafe level.
The 12 boys - ages 11 to 16 - entered the massive cave complex on the frontier of Thailand and Myanmar with their 25-year-old coach on June 23. But the rain largely held off on Monday.
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"The operation went much better than expected,"Chiang Rai acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn said at a news conference after the first four boys were rescued, adding that the healthiest were taken out first".
"This morning they said they are hungry, and they wanted phad kra pao", he said. He added, "They still need to be kept away from their parents and others due to fear about infection".
"The next step is to make sure those kids and their families are safe because living in a cave has a different environment, which might contain animals that could transmit any disease", a hospital statement said. "All eight are in good health, no fever. everyone is in a good mental state", Jedsada Chokdamrongsuk, permanent secretary of the public health ministry, said at Chiang Rai hospital where the boys were recuperating on Tuesday morning.
Elon Musk has offered his assistance and has floated plans to save the soccer team stranded in a Thai cave network. Each round trip from the rescue camp to the rocky shelf where the group is trapped takes about 11 hours. Seven boys remain trapped inside with their coach. All were being treated in a Chiang Rai hospital in an isolation ward. Narongsak was then seen shaking hands with a senior army figure and watching intently at the entrance of a long green medical field tent beside around 15 soldiers. To get the remaining boys out, divers will be forced by the narrow passages to accompany them one at a time.
After rescuing the four boys, the officials paused the operation for at least 10 hours to fill the oxygen tanks that were used.
Authorities declined to say how many boys would be extracted on Monday.
The search and rescue operation has riveted people both in Thailand and internationally, with journalists from across the globe traveling to this town along the border with Myanmar to report on the ordeal.