The world has been waiting with bated breath as rescue crews attempt to rescue twelve boys and their coach from a flooded Thai cave.
Overnight, four boys have been rescued, but nine remain underground including the 25-year-old coach.
It was reported that the strongest of the boys were selected to emerge first, however these have since been refuted.
Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osattanakorn described the four rescued boys as in 'perfect' health, despite earlier reports that one was being 'closely monitored', calling the rescue 'our masterpiece work'.
They boys were evacuated by helicopter and immediately taken to hospital in Chiang Rai province.
The rescue mission is expected to take another two to four days.
Officials said on Sunday night that the extraordinary operation would now pause for 10 to 20 hours to assess next steps, check equipment and refill oxygen tanks stationed along the dangerous route.
The successful rescue of four boys comes as authorities confirmed last week that a former Thai Navy SEAL had died while attempting to rescue the young football team.
Multiple reports claim Samarn Kunan, 38, died due to a lack of oxygen.
The tragic death comes as authorities fear time is running out for the twelve boys and their 25-year-old coach.
Should the rains further flood the cave, as predicted, the team could be trapped in the cave for more than four months until waters recede.
Provincial Governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn said the mission was a 'race against the water.'
'Our biggest concern is the weather. We are calculating how much time we have if it rains, how many hours and days,' he said.
The boys, who range in age from 11 to 15, as well as the coach, have practiced wearing diving masks and Thai Navy SEALS are being told to prepare for a sudden evacuation.
After a day of exploring in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in the northern province the boys and their coach became trapped on June 23. Monsoon flooding cut off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for 10 days. The boys, although skinny, have been described as in good health. Authorities have said the soccer players are being looked after by Thai navy SEALs, including medics, staying with them inside the cave.
This article originally appeared on New Idea.