Tenth boy walks from Thai cave as rescue mission nears end

An ambulance thought to be carrying one of the rescued boys

This brings the total number of boys rescued from the Tham Luang cave complex up to 10.

It could be at least seven days before they can be released from hospital, Mr Jesada told a news conference.

Rain had continued overnight but the governor's initial hope was that the third stage of the rescue could be performed faster than the rescues on Sunday and Monday, when four boys were freed on each day. "The equipment they brought to help us is not practical with our mission", the publication also quoted him as saying. Earlier in the day, rain poured in Thailand's Mae Sai, which fueled fears of rescue mission getting complicated in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave.

Dr Jesada said the first group taken out, on Sunday, were aged 14 to 16 and the second group, taken out on Monday, were aged 12 to 14.

All eight boys rescued so far after spending two weeks trapped in a Thai cave are in good health overall and the first four rescued boys are eating well, Thailand's health ministry permanent secretary said on Tuesday.

"We thank the God of the rain".

The "Wild Boars" team became trapped on June 23 when they set out to explore the cave after soccer practice and rains flooded the tunnels.

The hazardous bid to rescue the boys - aged between 11 and 16 - started unexpectedly on Sunday when the rescue team said conditions were ideal for the evacuation.

A crack team of foreign divers and Thai Navy SEALS guided the boys during a nine-hour operation through almost 4 km of sometimes submerged, pitch-dark channels from where they have been trapped for more than a fortnight. The message, like most posted by the SEALs, ended with the fighting cheer adopted from the US Navy: Hooyah.

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All preparations, including replacing the oxygen cylinders positioned along the route out in the cave, take at least 20 hours, he said.

Four additional boys, along with their 25-year-old soccer coach, remain in the cave and await the next round of rescues, CNN reported.

Officials described the rescued boys as "hungry but happy".

"I'm hoping for good news", he said. "This morning they complained that they are hungry and they asked for fried basil with rice".

Thai Navy SEAL divers enter the cave searching for the boys.

The search and rescue operation has riveted people both in Thailand and internationally, with journalists from across the globe traveling to this town along the border with Myanmar to report on the ordeal. They eventually found a dry landing spot, where they waited for nine days before being found by two British divers.

Officials lavished praise on the Thai and worldwide divers who executed the unsafe rescue mission, guiding boys who can barely swim and have no diving experience through a treacherous 4-kilometer-long (2 1/2-mile) escape route that twisted and turned and rose and fell inside the mountain cave complex.

Another and perhaps more worrying concern was that oxygen levels in the complex were falling close to risky levels.

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