'D-Day': unsafe mission underway to save Thai boys trapped in cave

Former navy SEAL died from lack of oxygen while trying to rescue Thai soccer team in cave authorities say

Four Thai soccer players are the first to be successfully rescued from a flooded cave hours after a complex and risky rescue mission commenced, according to Thai navy SEALS. However, there has been no official word on this so far.

Four of 12 Thai schoolboys were rescued from a flooded cave on Sunday in a daring and unsafe operation to save the children and their soccer coach who have been trapped underground for more than two weeks.

At 10am local time, 18 divers went into the cave to bring out the boys - including 13 worldwide divers and five Thai Navy Seals. The boys are between 11 and 16 years old.

Foreign elite divers and Thai Navy SEALS began the complex operation to extract the 12 boys and their football coach on Sunday morning as they raced against time, with imminent monsoon rains threatening more flooding that would doom the mission.

He said the 13 are very ready to come out and the rescue team is at "peak readiness" and have been practising for the past three to four days.

The official heading the operation to rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach from a cave in northern Thailand says the operation is going "better than expected".

They were strapped to the leading diver by a tether and dragged along by their "buddy", who carried two tanks and shared oxygen with the boy as they followed a submerged rope. An update Saturday from the Thai navy said three navy SEALs were with the boys and their coach, one a doctor.

The governor has called the rescue a "war with water and time".

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The announcement of US government involvement was sudden and this tweet is looked at as Trump's first public comment on the rescue mission.

An Australian doctor, a diving expert, gave the final approval on the health of the boys - clearing the way for the rescue.

A mammoth response operation including a medical unit, ambulance and helicopter for every boy is waiting outside the cave for the team to emerge.

Rescue teams have been helped by the fact that the rain stopped for several days, Chinchar said, allowing water to be pumped out of the caves and making it possible for the four boys and specialist rescue teams to make the final leg of the journey on foot.

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.

"Assessing the situation now, it is necessary to evacuate the area for the rescue operation", said Mae Sai police commander Komsan Sa-ardluan over a loudspeaker. The initial euphoria of finding the boys alive tuned into deep anxiety as rescuers raced to find a way to get them out.

The boys, accompanied by two divers each, will be brought out one-by-one.

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