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Thai boys in hospital after being rescued from flooded cave

Four were brought to the surface on Sunday, more than two weeks after a football team and their coach were trapped underground.

Four boys have been rescued from a flooded cave in Thailand and taken to hospital.

The Thai official leading the rescue operation said it has gone “better than expected” and that the healthiest boys have been taken out first.

Four were brought to the surface on Sunday, more than two weeks after a football team and their coach were trapped underground.

The next phase of the operation will start in 10 to 20 hours, according to authorities.

Chief of operations governor Narongsak Osatanakorn said 13 foreign and five Thai divers are taking part in the operation.

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Chiang Rai acting Governor Narongsak Osatanakorn (AP)

The British Cave Rescue Council (BCRC) confirmed that seven divers from the UK with “expertise in cave diving” are assisting.

Two elite British divers, Rick Stanton and John Volanthen, were the first rescuers to reach the group on Monday night and are believed to be part of the team.

A BCRC spokesman said: “The UK divers are part of the core team, so they will be actively involved and that will include escorting each child out through the flooded passage.

“The operation is being supervised by the Thai authorities.

“They have had to make a quick decision because they are really concerned about the water level rising.”

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(PA Graphics)

Two divers will accompany each boy as they are gradually extracted.

The entire operation to get all 13 out of the cave could take two to four days, depending on weather and water conditions, said Thai army Major General Chalongchai Chaiyakam.

A doctor and paramedics are standing by to provide medical attention whenever the rescue team emerges.

Rescuers pumped millions of litres of water out of the cave network to try to extract the group through nearly a mile of tunnels.

Thai officials are not only racing against worsening weather, but also lowered oxygen levels in the underground complex in the north of the country.

Former Thai navy Seal Saman Kunan passed out making the dive on Friday and died.

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The body of Saman Gunan, a former Thai navy Seal who died (AP)

The boys, aged 11-16, and their coach, 25, were trapped inside the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in the northern province of Chiang Rai after a football game on June 23.

Monsoon flooding cut off their escape and they have been on a rocky shelf inside a cave chamber since.

Although weak, they are largely in good health, authorities have said.

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