"They've been raining for the last four to five hours and the concern is that water is running straight back down into the cave and there are big concerns that that could in some way hamper this rescue effort".
Authorities in northern Chiang Rai province began the unsafe mission to bring out the 12 boys and their football coach earlier on Sunday.
Provincial Governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn said the mission was a 'race against the water'. Multiple calls to senior government officials and military personnel leading the rescue operation rang unanswered Monday evening.
Chief of the rescue mission Narongsak Osottanakorn addressed reporters at the end of the 17-day mission, arriving at a media centre to a round of applause. "We should learn from this experience to prevent it from happening again".
The 12 boys have been trapped in the cave along with their 25-year-old coach since 23 June, after rising water levels trapped them inside.
The group was found by British cave divers on July 2, emaciated and huddled together on a mound surrounded by floodwaters. The same process was used Sunday for at least one of the four boys rescued in the first attempt at getting the 12 boys and their coach out of the underground cave complex. A former Thai navy SEAL passed out while making the dive Friday and died.
"Four boys have reached chamber three and will walk out of the cave shortly", Lt.
USA soldier killed, 2 others injured in 'apparent insider attack' in Afghanistan
The incident marks the first combat fatality for the USA military in Afghanistan since April 30 and the second there this year. The shooting happened at the airport in Tarinkot, the capital of Uruzgan province, a local police officer told AFP .
The governor explained that a re-evaluation of the boys' situation had led the rescue authorities to conclude that they could not stay in the cave throughout the monsoon season.
In a statement released late Sunday afternoon, Chiang Rai acting Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn says "divers will work with medics in the cave to assess the boys' health before determining who will come out first".
The operation began at 10 a.m. local time and went faster than initially expected, but did not confirm which boys were rescued. Some of the parents told Reuters they had not been told who had been rescued and that they were not allowed to visit the hospital. The rescued boys are still being held in quarantine for testing and have not been able to have direct contact with their parents yet. So far, two boys have confirmed lung infections.
Six of the twelve boys trapped in the cave in Thailand have been rescued according to the local officials.
"We have not been told which child has been brought out". He has also thanked global experts who helped find the boys.
"Football's Coming Home. First Wild Boars Out", a headline on one online Thai paper said on Monday, referring to a song chanted by English soccer fans at the World Cup now underway in Russian Federation. But authorities have said it remains unclear how long the boys would have to remain inside.
"The boys are physically and mentally fit to come out".