The journey had taken as long as five hours from the part of the cave where the boys are to the exit when the water level was high and the current was strong, but that was down to around 2 ½ hours by Sunday, Karadzic said. The device could be used to rescue one boy at a time as it has space to fit in one person with his arms crossed, he said.
Anupong Paojinda said officials were meeting on Monday morning about the next stage of the operation and how to extract the remaining eight boys and their football coach from the cave in the country's north. Heavy rain has struck the region intermittently over the last three days and further downpours could set back draining efforts at the cave.
"I'm hoping for good news", he said.
Narongsak said that the "same multinational team" that went into the cave on Sunday to retrieve the first four boys was deployed on Monday.
Thirteen worldwide divers and five Thai Navy SEALs are involved in the operation.
Two more boys left the Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex a short time later and were transferred to a medical facility on site, followed soon after by a fourth boy, according to the eyewitness, who is stationed at the entrance to the cave. "We can't visit our boys in hospital because they need to be monitored for 48 hours", Somboon told Reuters.
The search and rescue operation has riveted people both in Thailand and internationally, with journalists from across the globe traveling to this town along the border with Myanmar to report on the ordeal.
Narongsak Osottanakorn, the rescue mission chief, said that the same divers who carried out the operation yesterday are also involved in the second phase, along with additional personnel.
However, Saturday night, Musk tweeted that the cave was now closed for the rescue by divers, adding, "Will continue testing in LA in case needed later or somewhere else in the future". Monsoon flooding blocked off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for nearly 10 days. Narongsak on Monday said their identities were being protected out of respect for the families of those still trapped inside the cave.
The soccer team had been trapped in the underground cave network since June 23, with flash floods causing water levels to rise, making it hard to get out. Relatives were able to see them through a glass partition, Narongsak said.
Can you imagine what the parents are thinking when they try to lie their heads down every night, knowing what their boys have been enduring for over two weeks?
The four who were rescued previously were taken to a hospital in Chiang Rai for evaluation.
However, many have been asking the very reasonable question of why the boys were in the cave in the first place? "But they still need to be kept away from their parents and others due to fear about infection", he said.
Monday's operation began at 11am and took nine hours, two fewer than Sunday, with rescuers helped by the experience they've accumulated, said Narongsak Osotthanakorn told a news conference punctuated with rounds of applause.
"We have not been told which child has been brought out". "All eight are in good health, no fever. everyone is in a good mental state", Jedsada Chokdamrongsuk, permanent secretary of the public health ministry, said at Chiang Rai hospital where the boys were recuperating on Tuesday morning. On top of all the concerns inside the cave, Thailand's rainy season is looming.