First four of trapped Thai football team rescued hinh anh 1Some members of the football team trapped in Tham Luang cave (Photo: Xinhua/VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The first four of the 12 young footballers who together with their coach were trapped in the flooded Tham Luang cave of Thailand were rescued on late July 8.

Narongsak Osottanakorn, head of the rescue operation, told reporters that they managed to rescue and send back the four children to Chiang Rai Prachanukrua Hospital safely.

The boys emerged separately from the cave from between 5:30pm and 6pm (Thailand time), and each of them was accompanied by two divers in the rescue effort which was launched at 10am the same day.

Rescuers planned to get the football team out of the cave in four groups, and the healthiest were taken out first. The rest would be split into groups of three. The coach was in the last group.

A team of 90 divers, including 50 from foreign countries were involved in the rescue effort, which is set to resume on July 9 morning.

The boys – members of the Wild Boars football team between the ages 11 and 16 – had been exploring the cave network with their soccer coach on June 23, when heavy seasonal rains flooded the cave's entrance, forcing the group further and further into the labyrinth of tunnels in search of higher ground.

They were found alive on July 2 after 10 days of being trapped in the flooded cave complex.-VNA