In Thailand, rescuers freed a 12-year-old boy along with a coach of the football team, who were trapped in a flooded cave since June 23.
Prayut extended his "sincerest gratitude" to all involved in the mission including volunteers, government officials, private companies and media, as well as the moral support of people across the world.
Thai locals have been heavily invested in the efforts to save the soccer team, celebrating the rescue of the four and praying for the safe return of the nine still trapped. "This is indeed a blessing for the Thai people".
"All the guys and their coach came out of the cave Tham Luang. Such a handsome moment - all freed, great job!"
Four of the boys were rescued on Sunday, and authorities said the next phase could begin any time within a 10-hour window that began about 7 a.m. Monday.
All 12 members of a Thai soccer team and their coach have been rescued from a cave where they were stranded by floodwater for 17 days.
On July 8-9, divers managed to bring out eight children, who were taken to the hospital in helicopters.
Two more boys reportedly left the cave complex a short time later and were transferred to a medical facility on site, followed soon after by a fourth boy, says an eyewitness stationed at the entrance to the cave.