(CBS News) — The third phase of the high-risk rescue operation for the boys and their coach trapped in a cave in Thailand played out quickly on Tuesday. Hours after Thai officials confirmed that 19 divers had entered the cave complex in Chiang Rai province to extract the remaining four children and their assistant coach, several of them were brought out on stretchers.
Four boys were rescued Sunday and an additional four emerged on Monday.
The boys, ages 11-16, and their 25-year-old assistant coach became stranded when they went exploring inside after a practice game. Monsoon flooding blocked their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for almost 10 days.
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Rescuers have been taking the strongest boys out first. It may seem counter-intuitive, but the reasoning for that was that officials wanted the boys who have the best chance of surviving to get through the escape route first.
Soccer team all safe
The last young members of the Wild Boars soccer team are believed to be out of the sprawling cave complex in northern Thailand where they were trapped for more than a week.
Officials confirmed to CBS News that all 12 players and their assistant coach were safe on Tuesday.
The 12th member of the team was brought out of the cave complex on a stretcher only about eight hours after officials announced Tuesday’s 3rd phase of the rescue operation. The 25-year-old assistant coach was the last out.
The conditions of the boys pulled out of the cave on Tuesday, and their coach, remains unclear, but officials have said the eight previously rescued are in relatively good health at a hospital in Chiang Rai.
Only a doctor and three Thai Navy SEALS who helped with the rescue effort will still need to get out safely before the operation is wrapped up.