Four members of a youth soccer team in Thailand have been rescued from a cave where the group has been trapped for more than two weeks.
Twelve boys, ages 11-16, and their 25-year-old coach became stranded when they went exploring in the cave after a game, reports said. Monsoon flooding cut off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for almost 10 days, CBS News reported.
A group of divers and Thai Navy SEALs rescued the four boys on Sunday in ten minutes less than they had practiced beforehand in what was called a “smooth operation” by Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn. The boys were rescued wearing full face masks.
A team of 90 expert divers, 40 from Thailand and 50 from overseas, has been working in the cave system, according to reports.
The complex Tham Luang Nang Non cave system is largely flooded and diving is the only way in and out.
"Now and in the next three or four days, the conditions are perfect [for evacuation] in terms of the water, the weather and the boys' health," Narongsak in a press conference on Sunday.
Three ambulances carried the boys to safety, CNN reported.
Narongsak said he didn’t know when the team would be able to rescue the rest of the boys but he estimated at least 10 hours and no more than 20.
The mission reportedly paused due to depleted oxygen levels in the cave. Levels have fallen from 15 percent to 20 due to the presence of rescue workers in the cave, reports said.
President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday morning that the U.S. is working closely with the Thai government to “get all of the children out of the cave and to safety.”