Thai authorities say the second phase of an operation to rescue the remaining eight trapped boys and their soccer coach from a cave began at 11 a.m. (midnight ET).
A heavy but brief downpour hit the area Monday morning, but authorities said that did not change the water level in the cave, as workers continue to pump water out. New oxygen tanks were being placed before the second stage of the rescue effort began.
Four boys were retrieved from the cave Sunday. Chiang Rai provincial acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn said the four healthiest boys were removed first. The rescued children were taken to the hospital, and officials said early Monday that they are strong and safe but need to undergo detailed medical checks.
Thai authorities said the parents of the four rescued boys are still being kept from physical contact with them due to fear of infections. Relatives were able to see them through a glass partition.
Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda had said early Monday that the same divers who took part in Sunday’s rescue would return to extricate the others as they know the cave conditions and what to do.
The boys and their coach had been stranded in Tham Luang Nang Non since June 23 when they went exploring in the cave after a scrimmage. Monsoon flooding cut off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for almost 10 days.
Narongsak said Monday that they “hope to hear good news in the next few hours.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.