Four of the 12 schoolboys trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand have been brought to safety, it has been confirmed.
The remaining children are expected to be rescued in the next phase of the operation, due to start in the next 10-20 hours.
Sources said the boys were immediately taken to a field hospital set up near the cave. Sometime afterward, eyewitnesses at the scene reported seeing air and land ambulances leaving the cave site, believed to be transporting the boys to Chiang Rai hospital, about 50 miles away.
Tossathep Boonthong, chief of Chiang Rai’s health department and part of the rescue team, announced the emergence of the first two children to Reuters late on Sunday morning. Around 90 minutes later a senior member of the medical team said a total of six boys had exited the cave, though this was later clarified to reflect that four boys had safely been delivered to hospital.