Thai cave rescue: All 12 boys and their coach rescued

Ekkapol Chantawong and an aunt one of the few remaining relatives he had after an epidemic made him an orphan aged 10

There was no immediate update on the health of the remaining five who emerged from the cave on Tuesday, but Thai Navy SEALS said they were "safe".

The incredible rescue has been deemed a miracle by many, but the operation wasn't without tragedy.

British divers found them grouped together in complete darkness on a muddy bank several kilometres inside the cave on Monday.

Rescue divers had to travel through murky waters and narrow passageways to reach the boys and their coach, who had been trapped since June 23.

The last people to leave the cave were a group of navy SEALs who helped with the rescue. Another two more boys left the cave complex a short time later followed by the fourth boy.

Manchester United has invited the Thai soccer team rescued from a cave after 17 days underground to a match at Old Trafford this season.

Federation Internationale de Football Association also offered condolences to the family of the Thai Navy SEAL diver who died saving the boys and expressed "profound gratitude to all persons involved in the rescue operation". Tuesday's operation began just after 10am.

One of the Thai doctors said the boys were happy but psychologists would be evaluating them.

"It's stronger now. Every step of the extraction is risky", said Narongsuk Keasub, a diver for the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand.

When Thai navy SEALs confirmed that all 12 soccer players and their coach had been safely rescued from the flooded cave they had entered 18 days ago, Simmee Oupra was overcome with emotion.

One volunteer, former Thai Navy SEAL Saman Gunan, died last Friday while placing air tanks along the escape path. The eight rescued boys are healthy are in 'high spirits.' They are under constant medical supervision to eliminate any risk of infection.

The first 4 boys who were rescued the other day, aged between 12 and 16, are now allowed to eat normal food once again.

He said, "the kids are footballers so they have high immune systems".

Two of the boys had suspected lung infections but the four boys from the first group rescued were all walking around in the hospital. But family members have seen at least some of the boys from behind a glass barrier.

Four boys and their soccer coach remain in the cave. All the rescued are expected to be taken to the hospital soon.

Monday's rescue effort took about nine hours, two fewer than the day before, in a sign of growing confidence and expertise. Once they were inside, the tunnels behind them flooded after heavy rain. Musk appeared to deliver the submarine to the rescuers in Thailand, tweeting that he would leave it "here in case it may be useful in the future", adding, "Thailand is so handsome".