Thai Navy SEALs use Facebook for nail-biting updates on cave rescue mission

The boys and their coach. /COURTESY

The boys and their coach. /COURTESY

A helicopter flew the four boys to the nearby city of Chiang Rai, where they were taken by ambulance to hospital. Time is of the essence, though, as heavy monsoons are expected to cause a rise in water levels in the cave.

According to our correspondent, Thai officials have warned the rescue could take three or four days in the worst case scenario.

The first of the four boys emerged from the cave entrance about nine hours after a team of 18 global cave diving experts entered the underground chamber to begin the hazardous process of accompanying the boys through the flooded, narrow tunnels to safety.

"If, as we all hope, they are reunited with their families in the coming days and their health allows them to travel, Federation Internationale de Football Association would be delighted to invite them to attend the 2018 World Cup final in Moscow as our guests".

At least two of a group of boys trapped inside a cave in northern Thailand for two weeks have been been successfully brought out, reports say.

It reported: 'Only six of the boys will be taken out tonight'.

Authorities in northern Chiang Rai province began the risky mission to bring out the 12 boys and their soccer coach earlier on Sunday.

Officials worked to supply the 12 boys and their coach with oxygen through a 3 mile (5 kilometer) cable running through the cave's winding chambers on Friday.

A total of 18 expert divers - 13 worldwide and five Thai - were proceeding deep into the hillside through the waterlogged passages to the chamber where the team is located.

According to BBC News, the team began the operation ahead of schedule thanks to a pause in the frequent rains that come with the country's monsoon season.

"There's no time limit on the operation", he said.

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The prospect of a downpour has been looming over rescuers since the very beginning.

The boys and their coach, whose team is known as the Wild Boars, became stranded when they were exploring the cave after a practice game on June 23. Experienced cave rescue experts consider an underwater escape a last resort, especially with people untrained in diving, as the boys are.

But that could change in the coming days, Chinchar added. In total, the mission could last several days, he also said, though the team of worldwide divers on the site are apparently feeling "buoyed" by the success of the operation so far.

Rescue mission head Narongsak told reporters that today was "D-day" and that the first of the boys could emerge from the cave around 9 p.m. local time this evening.

'One boy will be accompanied by two divers. The plan was to have the boys swim out of the cave with the help of divers. I'm happy being here inside, the navy SEALS have taken good care.

"Definitely, you can feel it that it has an effect, but we're moving on".

The foreign divers and five Thai divers entered the caves after an Australian doctor gave the all-clear.

In a letter of his own, coach Ekapol Chanthawong apologized to the boys' parents for the ordeal. The other boys have not been identified yet. One boy's note said: "I'm doing fine, but the air is a little cold, but don't worry".

Poonsak Sripiromrak, who runs a shop selling gems, jewelry and religious statues in Mae Si, said the story has kept everyone in town on edge for the more than two weeks since the boys first went missing.

Jake Zweig said on "Fox & Friends" that he was confident in the SEALs working to rescue the 12 boys and their coach, but that there is a possibility of a rescuer losing his life. "As soon as they get out, that's what they'll be checking: their oxygen levels and their breathing".

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