Thai Navy SEALS on Monday proudly announced their latest successful extraction of four youth soccer players trapped in a cave by adopting the U.S. Navy’s “Hooyah!”
Authorities on Tuesday started their final push.
Reuters reported that eight players have been rescued in dangerous attempts by a world-class international team of divers.
There is optimism that the dive team is getting more efficient in their attempts. They successfully extracted the second group of four a full two hours faster than the first, officials said.
“Two days, eight Boars,” read a Facebook post by the Thai navy SEALS about the operation at the Tham Luan Nang Non cave that began Sunday, more than two weeks after the Wild Boars soccer team became trapped.
Their families were being kept at a distance because of fears of infection and the emaciated-looking boys were eating a rice-based porridge because they were still too weak to take regular food, authorities said. All those extracted reportedly showed signs of infection.
The chances of monsoon rains raising water in the cave again, endangering their dry refuge and making the escape route too risky, were never far from the minds of everyone involved.
The plight of the boys, aged 11-16, and their coach, has riveted Thailand and much of the world — from the heart-sinking news they were missing to the first flickering video of the huddle of anxious yet smiling boys once they were found by the pair of British divers deep in the sprawling cave.
Writing in elegant Thai script, the boys urged their parents not to worry, adding that they hoped they wouldn’t get too much homework after being rescued and couldn’t wait to eat their favorite foods again.
All preparations, including replacing the oxygen cylinders positioned along the route out in the cave, take at least 20 hours, he said. The safety of the divers, who have meticulously planned the mission, is also paramount.
The Associated Press contributed to this report