Last 4 Thai boys and football coach expected to be rescued from cave tonight

Last four Thai boys and coach to be rescued from Tham Luang cave by this evening

In a rescue mission at the Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai province, Thailand that has gone far faster than most ever anticipated, eight of the trapped 12 Thai boys have now been extracted from the partially submerged cave system.

The last four boys and their football coach are expected to be rescued from the cave tonight. Meaning the entire rescue mission will have taken just over two days from its beginnings on Sunday.

At a press briefing this morning, rescue operations commander Khun Narongsak Osotthanakorn said 19 international and Thai Navy SEAL divers have now been sent into the Tham Luang cave to rescue the last four Wild Boars footballers and their coach.

Khun Osotthanakorn said he expected the last five survivors, along with three Navy SEAL divers and a doctor that have stayed with them for the last couple of days, to leave the cave tonight. This would make the final rescue operation quite a bit faster than the first two extractions on Sunday and Monday.

Reuters is also reporting that the last five trapped footballers will all be brought out from the cave system at the same time, which makes the last rescue effort more challenging than the first two due to the one extra person the rescue team will be extracting.

The first eight boys that were rescued on Sunday and Monday, the physically weakest of the twelve, are now being taken care of at Chiangrai Prachanukroh Hospital.

They are said to still be weak, ravenously hungry after their more than two week ordeal, but still being kept on a special diet for a few more days until doctors can be sure they are completely recovered.

The remaining four boys and their football coach, 25-year-old Ekkapol Chantawong, are said to be in slightly better physical condition but will still be airlifted by helicopter to Chiangrai Prachanukroh Hospital for treatment and observation as soon as they are extracted from the cave system later tonight.

Related: First four boys rescued from Tham Luang cave — other 8 and football coach expected to be safe within a few days