First Thailand boys rescued two weeks after being trapped in cave

Rescue operation begins for 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped in a cave in Thailand

Rescuers will be using air tanks and face masks while guiding the boys to safety.

Chiang Rai province, acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn is heading the rescue operation, and told reporters that the divers will accompany each boy as they're extracted from the cave.

The rescue started at 10 am Thai time and involved 13 worldwide divers and five Thai navy seals, who were described by Governor Narongsak as "an all-star team", reports the Daily Mail.

The quick extraction came as a surprise after one of the operation commanders said on Sunday morning the rescue efforts could take several days to complete.

Four boys have been confirmed rescued from the cave in northern Thailand where they have been trapped for two weeks. They will be accompanied by an "all-star" team of 13 global and five Thai divers, officials said.

Meanwhile, the oxygen level in the cave has dropped, taxing the bodies of the captives who have had little to eat or drink while they were missing from June 23 to Monday, when they were located deep within the 10-kilometer cave system in northern Thailand.

Millions of gallons of water have been removed from the caves in the last week in an attempt to make it passable for the rescuers and the trapped football team.

On Saturday, Thai Navy SEALs published touching notes scrawled by the trapped footballers to their families, who had been waiting for them agonisingly close by outside the cave entrance. Rescuers fear more flooding in the cave, and a weather front is approaching.

This morning, officials decided they could not wait to save the group any longer, as they believe the boys are now "fit enough and ready".

While the oxygen level had stabilised he warned levels of carbon dioxide in the cave were another factor in considering when to move the group, in addition to impending rains, which could cover much of the muddy ledge on which the group are sheltering.

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"We have two obstacles: water and time". This what we have been racing against since day one.

"The heaviest rain has yet to come", said CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar.

"Now and in the next three or four days, the conditions are ideal [for evacuation] in terms of the water, the weather and the boys' health", Narongsak in a press conference on Sunday.

But that could change in the coming days, Chinchar added.

Divers have previously described conditions in the cave network as some of the most extreme they have ever faced.

The four boys rescued Sunday have been taken to a hospital. A former Thai navy SEAL died making the dive on Friday.

"It's unsafe to the most experienced divers to go through", said one diver who spoke to Reuters.

"Definitely, you can feel it that it has an effect, but we're moving on". "We have to be 100 percent confident that there is no risk to the boys before we evacuate", provincial governor Narongsak Osottanakorn said.

Thirteen foreign and five Thai divers are taking part in the rescue effort. The letter shows the boys in good spirits despite their ordeal. One of the boys, identified as Tun, wrote: "Mom and Dad, please don't worry, I am fine".

The group had been trapped in the flooded cavern for more than two weeks after exploring it following a practice game.

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