Military police secure a road as a large convoy of official vehicles enter the Tham Luang cave area. Rescue teams worked for a second straight day on Tuesday to rescue four more of the trapped boys. Photo: AFP / Ye Aung Thu

Rescuers working at a cave site in northern Thailand have suspended operations for the day after bringing four more boys out of the flooded cave system on Monday. This now brings the total number of rescued boys to eight.

Thai army has reported that the operations will be resumed on Tuesday, when the large rescue team of local and foreign divers will again venture into the Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai for a third day, to attempt to bring out the four remaining boys and their coach.

The first boy to emerge from the cave complex on Monday was seen on a stretcher just before 4:30 pm local time. He was taken by helicopter and then ambulance to the hospital in Chiang Rai were the first four boys, who were rescued on Sunday, are currently being held in quarantine as they undergo tests. Another two more boys left the cave complex a short time later followed by the fourth boy. All have now been transferred to hospital.

Chief of the rescue mission, Narongsak Osottanakorn, declined to comment on the identity of the four people brought out in the evening, saying updates would be supplied at a news conference that is scheduled to be held late on Monday.

The hazardous bid to rescue the boys – aged between 11 and 16 – started unexpectedly on Sunday when the rescue team said conditions were perfect for the evacuation. They began again at 11 am on Monday after the teams had stopped for the night to rest and to replenish equipment and oxygen supplies. Authorities have said the mission could take up to four days to complete and heavy rain is forecast in the coming days.

The boys and their coach, all from the “Wild Boars” soccer team, became trapped by rainy season floodwater on June 23rd when they had set out to explore the vast cave complex after soccer practice. In a drama that has received press coverage across the world, two British cave rescue specialists, workign with Thai military teams, found the 13 on a bank in a partly flooded chamber several kilometers inside the complex on Monday, last week.

Since the operation started, the area outside the cave’s entrance has filled with media, volunteers and onlookers. Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha was scheduled to make a second visit to the scene late on Monday and the president of soccer’s governing body, FIFA, Gianni Infantino, today invited the boys to the World Cup final in Moscow on Sunday if they make it out of the cave in time.

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