The ambulance left the cave complex area hours after the start of the second phase of an operation to rescue a youth soccer team trapped inside the cave for more than two weeks.
Eight of the 12 boys trapped in a flooded and labyrinth cave system in far northern Thailand are safe and recuperating in a hospital after another four were brought out by divers on the second day of a high-stakes rescue operation, a top official said.
"The eighth person is out and the operation is done for today", Sitthichai Klangpattana, flag officer to Thailand's Navy SEAL commander, told AP.
The divers also brought out touching notes for the families written by some of the trapped boys.
The only way to bring the boys and their coach out of the cave is by navigating dark and tight passageways filled with muddy water and strong currents, as well as oxygen-depleted air.
The initial rescue team is made up of 13 foreign divers and five Thai navy seals, with an overall team of 90 divers taking part in the rescue operation. The message, like most posted by the SEALs, ended with the fighting cheer adopted from the U.S. Navy: Hooyah.
USA Today reported that the rescue began Sunday because a break in the rain had lowered water to the lowest levels since the boys were found. It is a race against the clock with heavy rain expected in coming days, which would again dangerously flood the tunnels with fast flowing, and rising, water.
The group of 12 boys and their football coach had been exploring the caves when rainfall caused flooding, trapping them on a ledge deep in the winding caverns.
A heavy but brief downpour hit the area Monday morning, but authorities said that did not change the water level in the cave, as workers continue to pump water out.
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The boys are said to be generally in good health but doctors are still evaluating whether they could have picked up any risky infections, such as the potentially lethal leptospirosis, while inside the damp cave for two weeks.
"This morning they said they were hungry and wanted to eat khao pad grapao", Narongsak said referring to a Thai dish of meat fried with chilli and basil and served over rice.
The rescued boys were being treated by medics at the field hospital, and were later airlifted to a larger nearby hospital. "But they still need to be kept away from their parents and others due to fear about infection", he said.
Twelve local footballers aged 11-16 and their 25-year-old coach had been trapped in the long, winding and partially flooded Tham Luang cave since June 23. The search and rescue operation has involved dozens of global experts and rescuers, including a USA military team.
"The operation went much better than expected", mission head Narongsak Osottanakorn said on Sunday.
A device by Elon Musk'sSpaceX and The Boring Company, created to help rescue the remaining members of a soccer team trapped in a flooded cave in Chiang Rai, Thailand, is being tested in a swimming pool in Los Angeles, California, in this still image taken from an undated video obtained from social media.
Authorities have said the mission could take three or four days to complete.
"If something changes, we'll stop", he said. The diver, the first fatality of the rescue effort, was working in a volunteer capacity and died on a mission to place air canisters along the passage to where the boys are, necessary for divers to safely travel the five- to six-hour route.
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