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Thai cave rescue: Four more boys pulled from flooded cave

Updated: 8:54 a.m. on July 9, 2018

(CBSNews) -- Four more members of a youth soccer team were pulled from a flooded cave in a second round of rescue operations in Thailand on Monday. The 12 boys and their coach were trapped in the cave for two weeks.

Four were rescued over the weekend. On Monday, four more were rushed to a hospital.

The new stage started around 11 a.m. local time (midnight ET), and operations halted at night, a source confirmed to CBS News. Four boys and their coach remained inside the cave.

The boys, ages 11-16, and their 25-year-old coach became stranded when they went exploring inside after a practice game. Monsoon flooding blocked off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for almost 10 days.

The four who were rescued previously were taken to a hospital in Chiang Rai for evaluation. Two divers were assigned to each child to help them navigate the dangerous, narrow passageways. It could take two to four days complete the mission, officials said.

On Friday, the death of a former Thai navy SEAL underscored the risks. The diver, the first fatality of the rescue effort, was working in a volunteer capacity and died on a mission to place oxygen canisters along the route.

Chiang Rai acting Gov. Narongsak Osottanakorn said Saturday that mild weather and falling water levels in recent days had created the "perfect" conditions for an underwater evacuation. Those conditions won't last if the rain resumes, he said.

Heavy rain started falling as soon as the four were removed from the cave. Narongsak said experts told him the new rain could shrink the unflooded space where the boys are sheltering to 108 square feet.

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Posted: 5:31 a.m. on July 9, 2018

(CBSNews) -- The second phase is underway of the rescue of the boys and their coach trapped in a cave in Thailand, officials said. The rescue operation started around 11 a.m. local time (midnight ET) and will take several hours.

Multiple sources tell CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy rescue workers have carried the first person from this phase on a stretcher to an ambulance, and a sixth may be nearing the surface.

The boys, ages 11-16, and their 25-year-old coach became stranded when they went exploring in the cave after a practice game. Monsoon flooding blocked off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for almost 10 days.

The four who were rescued were taken to a hospital in Chiang Rai for evaluation. Two divers were assigned to each child to help them navigate the dangerous, narrow passageways. It could take two to four days complete the mission, officials said.

On Friday, the death of a former Thai navy SEAL underscored the risks. The diver, the first fatality of the rescue effort, was working in a volunteer capacity and died on a mission to place oxygen canisters along the route.

Chiang Rai acting Gov. Narongsak Osottanakorn said Saturday that mild weather and falling water levels in recent days had created the "perfect" conditions for an underwater evacuation. Those conditions won't last if the rain resumes, he said.

Heavy rain started falling as soon as the four were removed from the cave. Narongsak said experts told him the new rain could shrink the unflooded space where the boys are sheltering to 108 square feet.

The weather in Chiang Rai, Thailand, where the boys and their coach are trapped in a cave, is "actually quite dry," said CBS News foreign correspondent Ben Tracy. "Today they are really catching a break from the weather" of the rainy season, Tracy said.

Since it is rainy season, you can expect almost everyday you will get some type of rain. But in the past few days, they have avoided the heavy downpours that can flood the cave. There was some rain on Sunday, which caused some water to go into the cave, but officials were able to pump an almost equal amount of water out.

At some point, there was talk of leaving of the boys in the cave throughout the rainy season, Tracy said. But then oxygen started running low in the cave, and officials also worried the little piece of real estate the boys and their coach have could be lost.

The current rescue operation is not, Tracy said, "the preferred option." But officials decided "the risk of leaving them there was greater."

The rescued boys will be in quarantine for at least 24 hours, Tracy reports. Tracy also noted that the glimpse we've seen of the trapped boys showed they appeared to be in good spirits.

Divers have gone in for the second rescue attempt, Thai officials said. The second operation started at 11 a.m. local time Monday (midnight ET). It takes several hours.

Chiang Rai acting Gov. Narongsak Osattanakorn said the second phase began at 11 a.m. and authorities "hope to hear good news in the next few hours." Nine people remain trapped in the cave.

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. He had said fresh air tanks needed to be laid along the underwater route.

Thai authorities said the four boys rescued from the cave are hungry but in good health.

The chief the rescue mission said they are being kept apart from relatives because of infection concerns, Reuters reports. The rescued boys are in quarantine, BBC News reports.

Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental pediatrics at Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York, said there is a threat of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for the boys and their coach, but he said he is hopeful it won't be an issue for a majority of the kids.

Adesman said that PTSD is an issue for protracted trauma, and he's optimistic the worst is behind the boys trapped in the cave.

"There's a likelihood of resilience, assuming everyone comes out, there's no fatalities, I think the worst is behind them," Adesman said.

Adesman said the parents and mental health professionals will need to be on the lookout for the symptons of PTSD, including nightmares, flashbacks, concentration issues and impulsive or aggressive behavior.

If the boys do show signs of PTSD, Adesman said the best treatment available would be form of psychotherapy called trauma focused behavioral therapy. This would involve a psychologist, and likely other mental health professionals, working with the teens to revisit some of the trauma, talking about it through various stages of therapy and becoming more capable of coping with the emotional trauma of what occurred.

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