Illustrative photo (Photo: CNN)

Bangkok (VNA) – Four more boys were safely removed from the flooded Thai cave on July 9 as rescue missions resumed this morning to save the youth football team trapped inside.

The news comes just hours after rescuers had returned into the cave aiming to bring out more from the group of boys and their coach, who have been trapped in Tham Luang cave complex in Chiang Rai province for over two weeks now.

Thailand’s Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda said the first four boys rescued on late July 8 are in good health and expected to meet their parents tonight after a 24-hour separation to ensure they are not at risk of developing diseases stemming from their ordeal.  

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

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

Speaking at a press conference on July 9, mission chief Narongsak Osottanakorn said the second operation began at 11am. Water levels inside the cave dropped a further 30cm on July 8, the lowest, thanks to continuous pumping efforts.

The boys – members of the Wild Boars football team between the ages of 11 and 16 – had been exploring the cave network with their  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