13 missing footballers found alive in Thai cave


Rescue divers had spent much of Monday making preparations for a final push to find the boys, aged 11 to 16, and the 25-year-old coach. "We are the first", the rescuers reply.

After searching for more than a week, rescuers have found 12 boys and their soccer coach alive deep inside a partially flooded cave in northern Thailand. This initially prompted divers to withdraw, and the team was found via a system of ropes and cameras.

"How many of you?" the rescuer asks.

Narongsak said rescue workers would now focus on the "rescue" phase and then a handover to medical teams waiting outside the cave.

Meanwhile, diving experts have taken food and rejuvenative mineral salts so the boys and coach can rebuild their strength after 10 days with nearly no food or fresh water.

"How many of you?" one diver was heard asking the boys.

The next challenge will be getting the group out of the cave, which some have dubbed a "labyrinth".

In addition to the divers, teams have been working to pump out water as well as divert groundwater.

Rescuers are now working to bring more supplies to them and they may need to have food sent in for at least the next four months, according to the military. The boys, anxious to to leave the cave, asked when they would be going "outside", to which the diver responded, "No, not today. You have to dive".

"But the operation isn't over", AP quoted Chiang Rai provincial Gov Narongsak Osatanakorn as saying.

Osottanakorn said although the boys were safe, the mission wouldn't be over until they were all safely brought out of the cave.

They are trapped inside the Tham Luang Nang Non 10-kilometre (6-mile) underground cave complex.

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An global search effort has gone on since the group went missing inside the Tham Luang cave.

If they are to wait until the water recedes by itself, it would mean the boys will have to stay in the cave for months and have to be continuously supplied with food and assistance.

The length of the cave and the conditions that they're actually diving in means there are probably very few people on the planet who can actually get those provisions to them.

Divers of the Thai Navy Seals reached "chamber three" earlier this week but the rising flood water prevented them from moving further in.

All 13 missing people appeared to be in good condition, with no illnesses or injuries, said Mr Narongsak, citing information provided by the Thai Navy Seals maintaining an actual base inside the cave.

"Supplying them on site may face challenges depending on how hard the dives are", Mirza, coordinator of the US National Cave Rescue Commission, said in an email.

Relatives of the boys took shelter from heavy rain on Monday and were seen cheering, smiling and receiving calls after receiving the news. Rescuers shook hands and congratulated each other as occasional cheers broke out.

It's unclear if the group has been removed from the cave just yet.

Worrying predictions of heavy rains later this week mean rescuers must scramble to shuttle help and supplies to the stranded kids. "It's about 3 km from chamber 3 to Pattaya Beach".

"The SEALs reported that. they reached Pattaya Beach which was flooded".

Australian police rescue experts and defence force personnel are on their way to Thailand to assist the search for a group of boys missing in a flooded cave.

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