They were found more than a week later by a pair of British volunteer divers who were part of a rescue mission that has drawn divers and experts from around the world - including USA military personnel from Japan, bird's nest collectors who hunted for shafts in the rock face and members of Elon Musk's SpaceX venture.
On Sunday, teams of divers brought out four of the trapped boys but waited several hours before confirming their safe rescue.
The first four boys rescued from a flooded cave in northern Thailand were in good health and demanding fried rice in hospital on Monday, the head of the rescue team said, as divers resumed operations to bring out the remaining members of the group.
Thai policemen secure the road leading to Tham Luang cave area as rescue operations continue for those still trapped inside the cave in Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park.
Doctors are monitoring them for any illnesses they may have picked up in the cave, and supervising efforts to build up their strength after they spent more than two weeks with little food and no natural light.
Rescue mission chief Narongsak Osotthanakorn on Monday said the operation on the second day started at 11am.
The success of the initial evacuation raised hopes that all will be out soon, although officials said could it take up to four days to complete.
The soccer team had been trapped in the underground cave network since June 23, with flash floods causing water levels to rise, making it hard to get out.
Elon Musk's Space X rocket company is testing a "kid-sized submarine" that could be sent to help boys trapped in a flooded Thailand cave.
The boys who were pulled from the cave late Sunday are recovering from their ordeal in a newly converted isolation ward at Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital.
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Five boys have been rescued till now, and divers are continuing with the rescue operations.
He first tweeted about the situation in Thailand, which has been watched closely across the world since the boys and their coach were all miraculously found alive after nine days underground, on 4 July, saying he would be "happy to help if there is a way to do so".
The Thai navy SEAL unit, which has been overseeing the rescue, confirmed on its Facebook page that the total number of boys brought out was eight. The death Friday of a former Thai navy SEAL underscored the risks. Two of them possibly have a lung infection but all eight are generally "healthy and smiling", he said.
"Anyone that has had contact with the boys, including their close family, will be closely monitored to make sure they are disease free".
The names of the rescued boys were not released.
And while oxygen is placed along the road, one experienced ex-Thai Navy SEAL diver lost his life last week while replacing the oxygen canisters.
"I'm hoping for good news", he said.
The rescue team is scrambling to extract all of those stranded before fresh rains complicate the task or cut off access by increasing flooding in the cave.
Relatives said the boys had been inside the labyrinthine complex during the dry season. Two more were taken from the cave before nightfall.