At least four young members of a Thai soccer team have been rescued from the flooded cave where they were trapped along with eight teammates and their coach for more than two weeks, officials said Sunday.
The other team members and coach still remain in the underground cave awaiting rescue.
Chiang Rai Gov. Narongsak Osotthanakon said at a press conference Sunday that four boys had been pulled out safely from the Tham Luang cave and taken to the hospital.
“This is more successful than I expected, Everyone’s happy,” the governor said.
One person working with the rescue team told the Wall Street Journal that a total of six boys would be out by the end of the day.
“Everybody is in good spirits and is excited to be getting out,” the source said.
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Senior officials told Reuters and AFP that six boys had been rescued, but this could not be confirmed.
Rescuers will now need another 10 to 12 hours to get ready for the next stage of the remarkable operation, Narongsak said..
The plan is to take the rest of the group out in batches of four within two days according to the Journal.
All of the rescued were examined and found to be in good health, according to local outlet The Nation.
The governor confirmed this, saying the health of the four boys is “perfect.”
Another local outlet, Kahosod English, said one of the rescued soccer players was being “closely monitored.”
The Thai Navy Seals posted on their Facebook page that four of the boys had been rescued.
At least two of the boys were examined at a field hospital set up near the cave, Tossathep Boonthong, a member of the rescue team and chief of Chiang Rai’s health department, told Reuters.
They were then driven in an ambulance to a helicopter and airlifted to Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital, where their parents and doctors are waiting.
Authorities in Chiang Rai began the dangerous mission to rescue the 12 boys — aged 11 to 16 — and their 25-year-old coach earlier Sunday.
Doctors assessed the boys inside the Tham Luang cave on Saturday and decided to bring out the weakest first, according to reports.
Sources told the Bangkok Post that one of the first two boys rescued is 13-year-old Mongkol Boonpiem.
This report originally appeared on NYPost.com.