Now four boys have been safely freed from the cave, while eight more and their soccer coach remain trapped after 16 days of isolation.
Officials lavished praise on the Thai and global divers who, in pairs of two, executed the risky rescue mission, guiding the boys, who could barely swim and had no diving experience, through a treacherous 4-kilometer-long (2 1/2-mile) escape route that twisted and turned through the cavern.
There are now five members of the Wild Boar football team now left in the cave.
Though it rained again Sunday, it did not affect the water levels in the cave, said Narongsak Osatanakorn, the leader of the command center in charge of the rescue operation.
Four were rescued Sunday and another four were rescued on Monday.
Four Thai boys have been freed from the cave and taken to hospital via helicopter. Rescue chief Narongsak Osotthanakorn said Monday that the second round of extraction of trapped people resumed late Monday morning.
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Authorities have not confirmed the identity of the rescued boys and some of the parents said they had not even been told who had been rescued.
Authorities had said that incoming monsoon rains that could send water levels in the cave rising, coupled with falling oxygen levels in the enclosed space, added to the urgency of getting those trapped out. Officials have said storms forecast for Chiang Rai province in Thailand's far north had factored into their decision to go ahead with a complicated and unsafe plan to have the boys and their coach dive out of the cave.
Thirteen foreign divers and five members of Thailand's navy SEAL unit are taking part in the rescue operation. "We can't visit our boys in hospital because they need to be monitored for 48 hours", Mr Somboon said. Last week, a former Thai navy diver died while preparing for the operation.
The same divers who managed to rescue the first group of four boys on Sunday were involved in the second operation.
Four of the boys were rescued on Sunday, and authorities said the next phase could begin any time within a 10-hour window that began about 7 a.m. Monday.
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"I beg Phra Pirun because the Meteorological Department said that from Monday on there will be continuous rain", Major General Bancha Duriyapan said.
"All conditions are still as good as they were yesterday, " Narongsak told a news conference. Cave exploring is something they usually do after practices, but this excursion proved costly after they were trapped by the heavy rains.
Authorities said the boys are being held close to divers and wear oxygen masks to enable normal breathing.
Dr Andrea Dese, head of the stress and development lab at Kings College London's Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, said: "In the longer term, most children will recover from the initial emotional symptoms".
Chiang Rai health officials have told the Thai media that the families of the children can see them later tonight but "no hugging, no kissing" until their blood results are known.
Ambulances parked on standby outside the hospital in Chiang Rai province.
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Officials wouldn't say how much diving the boys would be required to do in the rescue operation.