First Thailand boys rescued two weeks after being trapped in cave

Rescue personnel arrive as rescue operations continue for 12 boys and their coach trapped at Tham Luang cave at Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province

Former navy diver dies during Thailand cave rescue effort

Read below the events as they unfolded.

A former member of Thailand's SEAL unit died during a dive on Thursday night, a grim turn in what began two weeks ago as an outing to celebrate the birthday of one of the boys.

President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday that US personnel were on the ground at the cave site assisting in the operation. Very courageous and talented people!,' the president wrote on Twitter Sunday morning. Gunan lost consciousness on his way out; his death demonstrated the dangers of getting 12 kids out through those narrow and flooded cave tunnels.

At 10am local time, 18 divers went into the cave to bring out the boys - including 13 global divers and five Thai Navy Seals.

The six other youngsters - and their coach - will remain underground tonight and be rescued tomorrow, the state-funded news agency said. It took about two minutes for the rescue vehicles to transport them to helicopters which later flew them to the city centre.

While authorities would prefer to wait until the monsoon season is over in October and the water in the cave can dissipate, rescuers may not have that luxury with more heavy rainfall expected to hit the area this weekend. The first pair may emerge at 21:00 THA (Thai Standard Time) today.

Thai rescuers are being assisted by an worldwide team comprising experts from China, Australia, the United States and Britain. They signed off the Facebok post with "Hooyah"-the battle cry of Thai Navy".

The boys, aged between 11 and 16, went missing with their 25-year-old coach after soccer practice on 23 June, when they had set out to explore the cave complex near the border with Myanmar. Concerns were earlier voiced that the children, weakened by nine days without food, were unfit for diving all the way through. "The boys are ready to face any challenges", rescue chief Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters near the cave site as the threat loomed of monsoon rains causing more flooding in the cave and blocking off a rescue bid. Water levels at many spots in the cave are now low, providing the best chance for the rescue to be carried out, he added.

Narongsak said that conditions inside the cave were the best they could hope for and that water levels were now so low after days of good weather and constant draining that long stretches of the passage were now walk-able. Steve George of CNN noted families were informed of the plan after the team had been trapped for 15 days.

As a result, the weakest boys will be brought out first, and the strongest will be rescued last.

It was announced the next dive will take place 10 to 20 hours after the first was completed.

The boys were given instructions on how to use scuba gear and each of them will be escorted by two specialists, the Herald Sun reported.

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