Divers are carrying out what they hope is a final mission to save four boys and their football coach trapped in a flooded Thai cave for more than two weeks, the rescue leader said Tuesday, as health experts gave the eight already brought out a chocolate treat and described them as being in good spirits.
A massive global effort involving more than 100 divers and rescue workers brought the first eight boys out through winding and partly-submerged passageways on Sunday and Monday, four a day.
The plan, he said, is to bring out the four boys and their coach on Tuesday if the weather cooperates. Later, Musk posted videos showing the testing a mini-pod that could be potentially used to rescue the boys stuck in the cave.
Tech Billionaire Elon Musk's submarine, created to save the Thai schoolboys trapped in a flooded cave network, has been rebuffed by rescuers after he arrived at the scene with the technology.
The rescue mission began on Sunday morning, almost a week since the 12 boys, aged 11-16, and their coach had been discovered on an embankment 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) inside the winding tunnels.
The second phase of a rescue operation has ended for the day, with more than half of the Thai soccer team rescued from the cave.
"If there are no abnormal factors, all five will come out today", Narongsak Osatanakorn, the former Chiang Rai governor who has been heading up rescue efforts, told reporters on Tuesday afternoon.
Rescuers navigating a perilous 2.5 mile stretch of narrow, flooded tunnels have saved eight of the 13 members of a soccer team trapped in a Thai cave.
But then oxygen started running low in the cave, and officials also anxious the little piece of real estate the boys and their coach have could be lost.
They are still being quarantined from their parents because of the risk of infection and would likely be kept in hospital for a week to undergo tests, officials said. Four of them were rescued from the flooded Tham Luang cave on Sunday and the other four on Monday.
The first boy rescued by Monday's team was freed around 4:30 p.m. local time and transferred to the same hospital as the first four boys who were rescued on Sunday.
The second group of four rescued on Monday are aged 12 to 14.
The team of 12 boys and their coach entered the cave system on June 23, when torrential rain caused the water level within the cave to rise rapidly, forcing them to venture deeper.
The final stage of the operation involves 19 rescue workers, and it would also retrieve a doctor and three Thai Navy SEALs who have stayed with the group since they were found over a week ago.
They are part of a youth soccer team known as the Wild Boars.
Narongsak says late in the evening that the rescue mission will not start again for at least another 10 hours to allow oxygen and other supplies to be replenished. "But if the rain god doesn't help, then it could be challenging", Narongsak said. The safety of the divers, who have meticulously planned the mission, is also paramount.