"We expect that if there is no unusual condition. the 4 boys, 1 coach, the doctor, and 3 SEALs who have been with the boys since the first day will will come out today", he told a press conference to loud cheering.
Another four boys were rescued Monday. "Some of them had gone to rest, some others are preparing for the next operation".
A crack team of foreign divers and Thai Navy SEALs guided the boys during a nine-hour operation through almost 4 km (2.5 miles) of sometimes submerged channels from where they have been trapped for more than a fortnight.
That leaves four boys and the 25-year-old coach of the Wild Boar soccer team still trapped in the cave with rescuers planning to resume efforts Tuesday.
Chiang Rai province's acting governor, Narongsak Osatanakorn, who is in charge of the rescue, voiced confidence Monday in the ongoing operation, provided the weather doesn't worsen. "We can't visit our boys in hospital because they need to be monitored for 48 hours", Somboon told Reuters. "The boys' strength, the plan - today we are ready like before". "But if the rain god doesn't help, then it could be challenging".
Today's rescue mission began at around 10 a.m. local time.
"Now they have no fever and can do their normal activities", Chokedamrongsuk said.
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Twelve children and one adult were trapped in underground caves in northern Thailand on June 23rd, and a rescue mission is still taking place to bring the victims home.
The search and rescue operation has riveted people in Thailand and internationally, with journalists from across the globe traveling to this town along the border with Myanmar to report on the ordeal.
A senior public health official said separately that a medical team tending to the eight boys who have already been brought out from the cave has assured that they are in good health. The extraction started on Sunday and eight of the children have been successfully brought out.
Sunday's mission involved 13 foreign divers and five Thai navy SEALs.
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.
He said experience gained during the successful extractions in the preceding two days would allow them to work faster and more efficiently.
Authorities on Tuesday were planning for their final push. One was that it was unknown how safe and dry the area where they had taken shelter would stay as Thailand's rainy season, which lasts until at least late October, picks up pace. More worrying, however, oxygen levels in the cave were falling.