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Eight boys rescued from flooded Thai caves, weather key to next effort

CHIANG RAI, Thailand, July 9 (Reuters) – Eight of the 12 boys trapped with their soccer coach in a labyrinthine flooded cave complex in northern Thailand have been freed, authorities said on Monday, adding that the time for rescuing the others will depend on the weather.

The mission which started Sunday is a race against the clock with heavy rain expected this week which would again flood the tunnels with fast-flowing, rising water.

A crack team of foreign divers and Thai Navy SEALS guided four boys on Sunday and a further four on Monday through narrow, submerged channels from the muddy bank deep inside the Tham Luang cave where they had been stranded for more than two weeks.

“All four boys have arrived at hospital, all are safe,” Narongsak Osottanakorn, head of the rescue mission, told reporters of those freed on Monday.

Asked whether the remaining four “Wild Boars” team and their coach would come out at the same time in the next rescue effort, he said: “It depends on the plan… We have set the plan for four people so if they want to take five out (at the same time), then they need to change the plan.”
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