Thailand cave rescue: Why the boys are being kept in isolation

Thai cave rescue: Elon Musk sends tiny submarine, but may be too late

Thai cave rescue: Elon Musk sends tiny submarine, but may be too late

They had been trapped inside the Tham Luang cave for more than two weeks. Eight have been rescued so far in an operation that began on Sunday.

Narongsak said after the first four boys were rescued that they would be quarantined "for a while because we are concerned about infections".

"All five will be brought out at the same time today", he said, to cheers from reporters and rescue workers.

The eight rescued boys were recuperating in a hospital from their ordeal huddling on a dry patch inside the Tham Luan Nang Non cave that became flooded by monsoon rains while they were exploring it June 23.

Torrential rain had not affected conditions for the rescue operation.

"If everything goes right, we will see four kids and a doctor and Seals that have stayed with the kids will all come out", the governor said.

The hazardous bid to rescue the boys - aged between 11 and 16 - started unexpectedly on Sunday when the rescue team said conditions were flawless for the evacuation.

On Sunday night, Must tweeted that the submarine would arrive about 11 p.m. on Monday local time.

Writing in elegant Thai script, the boys urged their parents not to worry, adding that they hoped they wouldn't get too much homework after being rescued and couldn't wait to eat their favourite foods again.

The youngest child, Chanin Wiboonrunreung, and 25-year-old football coach Ekaphol Chantawong, are still inside.

Officials lavished praise on the Thai and worldwide divers who executed the unsafe rescue mission, guiding boys who can barely swim and have no diving experience through a treacherous 4-kilometre-long (2 1/2-mile) escape route that twisted and turned and rose and fell inside the mountain cave complex.

Rescued schoolboys are moved from a military helicopter to an awaiting ambulance at a military airport in Chiang Rai, Thailand, July 9, 2018.

For the final operation tomorrow, Mr Narongsak said the rescuers would use the same plan with some adjustments because the number of survivors to be extracted would be five instead of four as was the case for the last two days.

Pad kra pao, a Thai chicken dish, was said to be the first meal that the four boys asked for.

Monday's mission involved 18 divers from Thailand and overseas. They were missing for nine days before being discovered by British divers last week.

The death of a former Thai Navy SEAL diver who ran out of oxygen in the cave on Friday underscored the danger of the journey even for professionals.

"The water level is still at a satisfactory level and we have enough teams to complete the mission", Narongsak said on Monday. However, they ended up starting the rescue effort a few hours earlier than planned.

Divers from Thailand and overseas, including the United States, China, Europe, and Australia have helped retrieve the boys, who are between the ages of 11-16.