Rescuers began the mission at 10 a.m. local time and it may take many hours before the first boy emerged from the cave, Narongsak Osottanakorn, head of the rescue mission, told reporters.
Osottanakorn said at a press briefing: “Today we are most ready. Today is D-Day. Today at 10am, 13 foreign divers went in to extract the children, along with five [Thai] navy Seals.
“As we look at the weather forecast, a storm is coming and torrential rain is expected, then our 100% readiness will decrease and we will have to pump the water out again.
“As for the kid factor, the kids are very determined and they are of high spirit. All 13 kids have been informed about the operation and they are ready to come out. They firmly decided to come out with us.
“The families of the kids have been informed and they agree with us.
“We’ve rehearsed [the medical preparations] for the past three to four days. We even practiced with a real kid—practicing the position of O2 tank and the marking … I assure you that we are very ready in this mission.
“I ask you all to patiently wait for news and send support and wish them success.”