Witnesses: First of boys trapped in Thai cave emerge

Multiple news agencies are quoting local Thai officials as saying the first members of the boys’ soccer team who been trapped by floodwaters in a cave in northern Thailand have emerged. At 7 a.m. Mountain Time, the Associated Press quoted Thai Navy SEALS as saying four members of the team have been taken out of the cave.

Officials ordered media to leave the area of the cave entrance as the rescue operation commenced shortly before 10 p.m. Mountain Time Saturday night.

The Associated Press reported two ambulances leaving the cave entrance area early Sunday morning Rapid City time.

Falling water levels after weeks of pumping, depleted oxygen levels in the cave, and the threat of more monsoonal rains prompted officials to being the rescue operation. Two divers are escorting each boy, who had to be taught to use scuba gear, on the estimated 11-hour journey from where they were located to the cave mouth. Before the operation began, officials said it could take between two and four days to bring all 12 boys and their coach out of the cave.