But the Thai authorities have not released any information about which boys have been brought out, other than to say that they would rescue the weakest boys first.
Here are details of all of those who were trapped.
Chanin Vibulrungruang, 11 (Nickname: Titan) – started playing football aged seven
Panumas Sangdee, 13 (Nickname: Mig), wrote to his parents: “The Navy Seals are taking good care of me”
Duganpet Promtep, 13 (Nickname: Dom) – captain of the Wild Boars, reportedly scouted by several Thai professional clubs
Somepong Jaiwong, 13 (nickname: Pong) – reportedly dreams of playing for the Thai national team
Mongkol Booneiam, 13 (nickname: Mark) – described by his teacher as a “very respectful and good child”
Nattawut Takamrong, 14 (nickname: Tern) – told his parents not to worry about him
Ekarat Wongsukchan, 14 (nickname: Bew) – promised his mother he would help her at the shop once he was rescued
Adul Sam-on, 14 – member of a volleyball team that came second in a North Thailand-wide tournament
Prajak Sutham, 15 (nickname: Note) – described by family friends as a “smart, quiet guy”
Pipat Pho, 15 (nickname: Nick) – wrote in his letter he wanted his parents to take him for barbecued food once rescued
Pornchai Kamluang, 16 (nickname: Tee) – told his parents “don’t worry, I’m very happy”
Peerapat Sompiangjai, 17 (nickname: Night) – it was his birthday the day the boys went missing, and his parents have told him they are still waiting to hold his birthday party
Assistant coach Ekapol Chantawong (nickname Ake), 25 – apologised in his letter to the parents, but they replied that they did not blame him
For your news articles, press release, Breaking News, send e-mail to [email protected]