"The children complained that they were hungry and wanted holy basil stir-fried rice", Narongsak Osottanakorn, the head of the rescue operation, told reporters on Monday, referring to the popular Thai dish.

However, rescuers say that the operation could take days because of the difficulty of the situation.

"The health of the remaining five people inside the cave is still good", Narongsak said.

Mr Narongsak allayed concerns that recent heavy rain might have raised water levels, saying conditions were "as good as yesterday" "We should hear good news again", he added. A statement from the hospital said, "The next step is to make sure those kids and their families are safe because living in a cave has a different environment which might contains animals that could transmit any disease".

Two of the boys had suspected lung infections but the four boys from the first group rescued were all walking around their hospital beds.

Four more of the boys trapped in a flooded underground cave have been successfully rescued in a second day of hazardous underwater diving.

After a perilous journey to safety through the depths of the Tham Luang caves, the rescued members of the Thai boys football team will have to wait before sharing a hug with their loved ones.

Rescued schoolboys are moved from a military helicopter to an awaiting ambulance at a military airport in Chiang Rai, Thailand, July 9, 2018.

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-kilometre-long (2 1/2-mile) escape route that twisted and turned and rose and fell inside the mountain cave complex.

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However, his great-grandmother the queen and her husband Prince Philip will not be among the guests, Kensington Palace said. Lady Laura Meade is married to Prince William's close friend James, who is Princess Charlotte's godfather.

Authorities have been rushing to extract the boys, ages 11-16, and their coach from the cave as the annual monsoon bears down on the mountainous region in far northern Chiang Rai province.

Still, the four were undergoing medical checks in a hospital in Chiang Rai city, the provincial capital, and were not yet allowed close contact with relatives, due to fear of infections.

The four remaining boys and their coach, Ekaphol Chantawong, are spending night 17 inside the cave but it is still unclear if they will be freed by the end of Tuesday.

On July 6th, former Thai Navy diver, Petty Officer Saman Gunan died while helping deliver oxygen to the team.

Monday's rescue effort took about nine hours, two fewer than the day before, in a sign of growing confidence and expertise.

The British Cave Rescue Council (BCRC) confirmed that seven divers from the United Kingdom with "expertise in cave diving" are assisting.

There were several concerns that prompted authorities to move forward with the plan to dive the boys out.

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


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