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Entire soccer team, coach rescued from Thai cave

MAE SAI, Thailand (CBS/AP) - The third phase of the high-risk rescue operation for the boys and their coach trapped in a cave in Thailand played out quickly on Tuesday. Hours after Thai officials confirmed that 19 divers had entered the cave complex in Chiang Rai province to extract the remaining four children and their assistant coach, several of them were brought out on stretchers.

Four boys were rescued Sunday and an additional four emerged on Monday.

The boys, ages 11-16, and their 25-year-old assistant coach became stranded when they went exploring inside after a practice game. Monsoon flooding blocked their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for almost 10 days.

Rescuers have been taking the strongest boys out first. It may seem counter-intuitive, but the reasoning for that was that officials wanted the boys who have the best chance of surviving to get through the escape route first.

Follow the latest updates below:

Soccer team all safe

The last young members of the Wild Boars soccer team have been rescued from the sprawling cave complex in northern Thailand where they were trapped for more than a week, Thai Navy SEALS confirmed Tuesday.

The 12th member of the team was brought out of the cave complex on a stretcher only about eight hours after officials announced Tuesday's 3rd phase of the rescue operation. The 25-year-old assistant coach was the last out.

The conditions of the boys pulled out of the cave on Tuesday, and their coach, remain unclear, but officials have said the eight previously rescued are in relatively good health and at a hospital in Chiang Rai.

Only a doctor and three Thai navy SEALS who helped with the rescue effort will still need to get out safely before the operation is wrapped up.

3 more people rescued from Thai cave

The ninth and tenth boys to be rescued from a cave in Thailand, where a soccer team and their coach became trapped due to rising floodwaters, were seen being carried out to a field to be transported to the hospital Tuesday. An 11th person was also seen being carried out of the cave, the Reuters news agency reported.

Divers were carrying out what they hoped would be the final operation to save the remaining four boys and their soccer coach, who have been trapped for more than two weeks.

An ambulance was seen leaving the cave site, the Associated Press reported. Officials in the previous two days of the rescue mission did not confirm rescues until the day's operations were over.

Third phase of rescue mission is underway

An ambulance was seen leaving the site of the Thai cave Tuesday where divers were carrying out what they hoped would be the final mission to rescue four boys and their soccer coach still trapped deep inside.

At least nine ambulances were waiting at the site after the leader of the rescue operation said Tuesday's aim was to bring out the boys and their soccer coach, as well as a medic and three Thai Navy SEALS who have been with the trapped boys. Officials have generally waited hours to confirm rescues.

"All five will be brought out at the same time today," the Thai official overseeing the rescue mission, Narongsak Osottanakorn, said to cheers from reporters and rescue workers.

Thai health officials: Rescued boys are in good health overall

All eight boys who have been rescued are in good health overall, Thai health officials said Tuesday. The children were given antibiotics, but there were no significant diseases or abnormalities have been found.

But Thongchai Lertwilairatanapong, inspector general of the public health ministry, said preliminary blood checks indicated "all kids showed signs of infection," according to Reuters. They boys will be in the hospital for a week.

Officials said the boys asked if they could attend the World Cup, but doctors told them they would have to watch it on television. They are expected to spend a week in the hospital.

Three ambulances seen entering cave site

Three ambulances along with cars, hummers and soldiers have been seen entering the cave site. Heavy rains lashed the northern Thai region late Monday and a steady downpour has continued Tuesday.

After divers brought out four of the boys Monday evening, authorities indicated the rescue operation would continue for a third day. But they also warned heavy rain could hamper their efforts.

The rescue missions take nearly half a day to complete. Monday's mission took about nine hours, two fewer than Sunday's.

Elon Musk says he has visited the cave rescue site

Elon Musk says he has visited the flooded cave in northern Thailand where a youth soccer team became trapped and has left a mini-submarine there for future use, but it seems the rescue team may not be able to put it to use.

The tech entrepreneur tweeted Tuesday morning he'd "Just returned from Cave 3," referring to the rescuers' command center inside the sprawling cave. He posted photos of the cave interior and a video showing people working their way through chest-high water.

Musk has offered a "kid-sized" submarine, named Wild Boar after the kids' soccer team, to help in the rescue operation. He posted videos of the sub being tested in a swimming pool in California with simulated narrow passages like the cave.

Later on Tuesday, however, BBC News quoted head of the rescue mission, Narongsak Osotthanakorn, as saying "the equipment they brought to help us is not practical with our mission."

"Even though their equipment is technologically sophisticated, it doesn't fit with our mission to go in the cave," Osotthanakorn, who is the regional governor, said according to the BBC.


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