Rescuers begin 'challenging' final push to free last five from Thai cave

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An eleventh person was rescued on Tuesday from a flooded Thai cave complex where 12 boys and their soccer coach were trapped for more than two weeks, raising hopes all 13 would be out by the end of the day.

A massive global effort involving more than 100 divers and rescue workers brought the first eight boys out through winding and partly-submerged passageways on Sunday and Monday, four a day.

The "Wild Boars" team became trapped on June 23 when they set out to explore the cave after soccer practice and rains flooded the tunnels.

A Thai well wisher puts a poster to pray for boys and their football coach.

The rescued boys were being treated by medics at the field hospital, and were later airlifted to a larger nearby hospital.

Wearing full-face masks, which are easier for novice divers than traditional respirators, each boy is being accompanied by two divers, who also carry his air supply.

Rescue operations chief Narongsak Osottanakorn says the boys are not ready to dive to safety.

It could be at least seven days before they can be released from hospital, Mr Jesada told a news conference.

Local news website Khao Sod English said the tenth boy emerged from the cave at 4.33pm (7.33pm AEST), with the eleventh soon following at 5.13pm (8.13pm AEST).

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Avery said the boys were now recovering in hospital and haven't yet had any contact with their parents. 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.

"I beg Phra Pirun because the Meteorological Department said that from Monday on there will be continuous rain", Bancha said.

Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda had said early Monday that the same divers who took part in Sunday's rescue would return to extricate the others as they know the cave conditions and what to do.

The four rescued boys have been transported to a Chiang Rai hospital for treatment and medical evaluations, reported CBS.

Two boys have minor lung infections and one had a fever, doctors have said. But they also warned heavy rain could hamper their efforts.

Dr. Jedsada Chokedamrongsook, the permanent secretary of the Thai Health Ministry, said the first group of boys taken out on Sunday were aged 14 to 16.

"Potentially deadly histoplasmosis - a lung infection also known as "cave disease" and "spelunker's lung" caused by breathing in spores from animal waste - is one of several illnesses that medical experts are anxious the 12 boys and their coach could have contracted while trapped deep in the subterranean system". Chiang Rai province's acting governor, Narongsak Osatanakorn, who is in charge of the rescue, voiced confidence on Monday in the ongoing operation, provided the weather doesn't worsen. Monday evening, he described the divers as "more confident" and able to work faster.

The Thai Navy SEAL wrote on Facebook on Tuesday it's expecting day three's rescue operations to be longer than previous days.

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