Officials said Saturday they have about a three- to four-day window in which conditions will be "most favourable" for the boys to attempt to dive out before monsoon rains hit and continue for months.
The boys who were rescued on Sunday were strong and safe but needed to undergo detailed medical checks, he said.
Some of the boys' parents told Reuters they had not been told who had been rescued and that they were not allowed to visit the hospital. Operation chief Narongsak Osottanakorn said a total of 90 divers would be involved in the rescue mission, with 40 divers from Thailand, and 50 from overseas, including the United States, Australia, China, and Europe, according to the Washington Post.
Water levels have a massive effect on the difficulty of the rescue operation.
Earlier on Sunday, Ten Eyewitness News understands Thai Navy SEAL divers and worldwide divers held a briefing before authorities ordered an evacuation of the area around the Tham Luang cave complex. Eight of the boys, and their adult coach, remained inside after the divers exhausted their supplies of air.
The Thai government has confirmed that rescuers have managed to free four boys from the cave in Northern Thailand where they have been trapped for two weeks.
Authorities in northern Chiang Rai province began the risky mission to bring out the 12 boys and their coach earlier on Sunday. About two hours later, the third and fourth boys were pulled from the cave 10 minutes apart, he said. A former Thai navy SEAL passed out and died making the dive Friday.
The names of the rescued boys were not released. Thailand's Meteorological Department said there was a 60 percent chance of rain Monday with thunderstorms forecast throughout the week, the Associated Press reported.
Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda told reporters the rescued boys were in good health in hospital but did not give further details.
Sustained heavy rains could make the water rise to the shelf where the children were sitting, reducing the area to "less than 10 square meters", he added. Officials are now limiting the number of rescue workers who can travel into the cave to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide that builds when they exhale. "If the oxygen levels are down and the carbon dioxide levels are up, then you can get too much carbon dioxide in your blood".
The boys, aged between 11 and 16, went missing with their 25-year-old coach after soccer practice on June 23 as they set out to explore the cave complex in a forest park near the border with Myanmar.
The ordeal has riveted Thailand and captured the world's attention.
"We, the Thai team and the global team, will bring the Wild Boars home", referencing the boys' soccer team name.
The boys sounded calm and reassuring in handwritten notes to their families that were made public on Saturday.
"I promise to take the very best care of the kids", he wrote.
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