Eight boys rescued from cave in northern Thailand

Jacob Goldberg 
american divers arrive at the site

"We continue to fully support the multinational rescue effort and pray for the safe return of the remaining members of the team", Manning said.

The second phase of a rescue operation has ended for the day, with more than half of the Thai soccer team rescued from the cave.

Typically people would learn to scuba dive before embarking on a more technically challenging cave dive like the one involved in the rescue effort, said Chris Foisey, a St. Catharines, Ont. -based scuba instructor with experience diving through underwater tunnels.

The weather in Chiang Rai, Thailand, where the boys and their coach are trapped in a cave, is "actually quite dry", said CBS News foreign correspondent Ben Tracy.

Four boys were rescued from the underground caves on Sunday, bringing the total number of recovered children to eight.

The footballers still awaiting rescue are about two kilometers further in, at a point very hard to access.

But before the rescued boys can finally go home to their families, they need to make a pit stop at the hospital, where they're being briefly quarantined to make sure they didn't pick up any diseases in the caves, according to news reports.

The 12 young footballers and their coach became trapped in the Thiam Luang cave two weeks ago due to rising water after they entered the cave made it impossible for them to escape.

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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 favorite foods again.

Rescue operations chief Narongsak Osottanakorn described Sunday's initial rescue bid as "D-Day" when it was launched, and there were fears that any one of many potential pitfalls could prove deadly.

Authorities have said extracting the entire team from the cave could take up to four days, but Sunday's success raised hopes that it could be done faster.

Soldiers arrive outside the Tham Luang cave complex in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand, July 8, 2018.

In a race against time amid a heavy downpour, experts concluded their original plan to swim the boys out was the best option. "And we have more expertise than yesterday", he said.

Additional rescue personnel, including divers from Thailand, the US, Australia, China and Europe, were stationed between the third chamber and the entrance, where the boys would have to use a rope to traverse challenging terrain. "The plan that I've held on to from the beginning is that we have to bring the kids out and the determining factor of this plan is to have as little water as possible".

Onlookers watch and cheer as ambulances deliver boys rescued from a cave in northern Thailand to hospital in Chiang Rai after they were transported by helicopters.

The death Friday of a former Thai navy SEAL underscored the risks. It takes the divers about eight hours to get into the cave, reach the boys, and bring them back out.

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