Six boys have now been freed from the Tham Luang cave

Thai Navy divers in Tham Luang cave during rescue operations for the 12 boys and their football team coach trapped in the cave at Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province

Thai Navy divers in Tham Luang cave during rescue operations for the 12 boys and their football team coach trapped in the cave at Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province

- Divers and rescue workers in Thailand have begun what could be the final push to free four boys and their soccer coach still trapped in a cave in the country's remote north, according to a Thai Navy official with knowledge of the operational details.

Boys from the soccer team trapped inside Tham Luang cave covered in hypothermia blankets react to the camera in Chiang Rai, Thailand, in this still image taken from a July 3, 2018 video by Thai Navy Seal.

Rescuers are racing to save four young footballers and their coach who remain trapped in a flooded Thai cave on Tuesday, as heavy rains threatened an already perilous escape mission that has seen eight of the boys evacuated.

"We expect that if there is no unusual condition. the four boys, one coach, the doctor, and three Seals who have been with the boys since the first day will will come out today", he told a press conference to loud cheering.

A break in the rain allows divers to reach further inside the cave but they are still a long distance from where the boys are believed to be.

Overnight, the entrepreneur Elon Musk posted on social media that he had personally delivered a child-sized submarine to the site which he has developed to assist with the operation, but it is unlikely to play a role.

That left two boys and their 25-year-old coach still inside the cave but authorities were confident of getting them all out by Tuesday evening via a claustrophobic network of tunnels that in some places were completely filled with water.

The four who were rescued previously were taken to a hospital in Chiang Rai for evaluation.

Nineteen team members have entered the cave for the third rescue mission, he added.

The boys and their coach first went missing on June 23.

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A crack team of foreign divers and Thai Navy SEALS guided the boys during a nine-hour operation through almost 4 km of sometimes submerged, pitch-dark channels from where they have been trapped for more than a fortnight.

Four were rescued Sunday and another four were rescued on Monday.

The Thai soccer team ventured into the Tham Luang cave complex after practice and became trapped by rising waters more than a fortnight ago.

Because of the heavy rains, which eventually eased in the afternoon, Narongsak said the decision had been taken to "not to waste time ... for the third planned mission".

The first eight boys rescued from a Thai cave are in good mental and physical health and are asking for chocolate, officials said Tuesday, although two were on antibiotics after being tested for pneumonia.

Crowds at the teeming rescue site cheer the good news, but attention soon turns to the hard task of getting the boys out safely.

Officials described the rescued boys as "hungry but happy".

They are part of a youth soccer team known as the Wild Boars.

Musk said it was light enough to be carried by two divers, robust, and small enough to get through narrow gaps.

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