Australian divers helping the dramatic rescue of a young soccer team trapped inside a cave in northern Thailand face a gruelling few days ahead after the Interior Minister said they would not be replaced.
General Anupong Paojinda said the same team of 90 rescue divers, which includes 50 foreigners, would continue the rescue following the successful extraction of four boys on Monday.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has confirmed 19 Australians are involved in the rescue at the Tham Luang cave near Chiang Rai.
Australian Federal Police and Defence Force divers, and doctor and experienced cave diver Richard Harris played key roles in the rescue operation which began at 10am (local time) on Sunday.
General Anupong said the same teams of divers would bring out the remaining eight boys and their coach who have been trapped in the cave for more than two weeks, because they are familiar with the terrain.
But he added the rescue teams would be thoroughly assessed to ensure they were ready and prepared to proceed with the second phase of the rescue operation.
Narongsak Osottanakorn, head of the search and rescue operation, said late on Sunday that he expected rescue operations to resume in 10-20 hours because of a need to replace air tanks used by the divers.
But he also warned the entire rescue operation could take three to four days to complete.
As of early Monday afternoon there was no official confirmation the rescue had restarted.
Thai commanders are concerned about rising water levels in the cave and a depleted oxygen supply. They want to extract the remaining nine as quickly as they can before more heavy rains inundate the mountainous area.
Dr Harris has played a crucial role in determining how the rescue would unfold after diving in to make a medical assessment of the boys, aged 11-16, on Saturday.
This cleared the way for the rescue team to pursue the option of diving the boys out in small groups, with each one accompanied by an experienced diver.
Ms Bishop said Dr Harris had been essential to assessing the boys' health.
"He is an experienced diver, which is a great benefit because he's brought all that expertise to assist the Thai government in this rescue mission," she said.
General Anupong said the four boys rescued were in good condition and being treated at Chiangrai Prachanukroh Hospital in Chiang Rai, about 60 kilometres from Tham Luang.
While he described them as "strong and safe" doctors at the hospital have said there will be "no hugging" allowed when they are reunited with their families later on Monday until blood tests are returned.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha refused to be drawn on how long the rescue mission would take, other than to say "we will do it as soon as possible, in the safest way".