Cave rescue operation to save trapped boys enters second phase

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CHIANG RAI, THAILAND - JULY 8: An ambulance carrying one of the boys rescued from Tham Luang Nang Non cave heading towards the hospital on July 8, 2018 in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Divers began an effort to pull the 12 boys and their soccer coach on Sunday morning after they were found alive in the cave at northern Thailand. Videos released by the Thai Navy SEAL shows the boys, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach are in good health in Tham Luang Nang Non cave and the challenge now will be to extract the party safely. (Photo by Linh Pham/Getty Images)

MAE SAI, Thailand — The second phase of the ongoing mission to rescue a team of boys trapped in an underground cave is underway, according to the Associated Press.

Just yesterday, four of the 12 trapped boys, aged 11 to 16, were pulled to safety while eight boys and their coach still await rescue.

The crisis emerged when a group of boys and their soccer coach set out to explore the Tham Luang Nang Non cave on June 23 after practice. When a rainstorm hit, the cave flooded, blocking off the explorers.

It took 10 days for the international search operation to locate the boys who found shelter on a dry slope deep in the cave.

The second phase began at 11 a.m. and authorities hope for good news in the coming hours, Chiang Rai acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn said, according to the Associated press.

To expedite the rescue mission, workers have fought to pump water out of the cave. As the annual monsoon bears down on the region, the heavy overnight downpours did not raise water levels within the cave, the Associate Press reported.

An underwater escape remains a last resort as the boys have only been learning to dive since July 2.

The risks became apparently Friday when a former Thai navy SEAL died on a mission to place air canisters along the way for divers to traverse the five- to six-hour route.

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