Sport

Rescuers reach soccer team trapped in Thai cave for nine days

Rescuers reach soccer team trapped in Thai cave for nine days”

After more than a week of around-the-clock searching, rescuers have found the missing 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach.

The group had been missing for nine days before they were found by divers late on Monday on a small dry ledge.

Experts have said the safest option could be to supply the 12 boys and their coach where they are and wait for the water levels to drop.

The rescue mission has drawn great global support with at least eight nations sending teams to help rescue the 12 boys and their football coach trapped in the flooded Tham Luang cave, alongside hundreds of Thais working at the scene since June 23.

A massive worldwide rescue effort has been under way since, with rescue teams battling through thick mud and high water to try to reach the group in the cave network that stretches 10 km (6 miles) into a mountain.

Provincial Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters early Tuesday that all 13 of them had undergone health assessments and were found to be in good condition on a scale of "red, yellow and green".

One of the rescue options being considered is to teach the youngsters how to dive. That could take as long as months, however, given that Thailand's rainy season typically lasts through October.

He said, "We found them safe". The Thai Navy SEALs leading the rescue mission will determine when they can "bring them out in 100% safety".

More than 1,000 people have been involved in the rescue operation, including teams from the Thai Navy SEALs, the UK, China, Myanmar, Laos, Australia, Sweden, and the United States. They completed the hard journey to find Pattaya Beach flooded, so swam on and found the boys about 400m away.

One of the toughest stretches for the divers came as they neared the so-called Pattaya Beach - an elevated mound in the cave complex - where it was hoped the boys had sought refuge.

Rick Stanton and John Volanthen, two expert cave divers from Britain, found the group about 300-400 meters (yards) past a section of the cave on higher ground that was believed to be where they might have taken shelter. They also were keen to get some food.

Heavy rains forecast for later this week could flood the cave even further and the boys may need to swim out using diving equipment before then.

It remains unclear whether any of the group are injured or in need of medical attention, but they have been given energy gels to sustain them while a plan is worked out to bring them to safety.

"I want to hug my son... usually our family sleep in the same bed together". According to reports on the 2010 operation, Stanton is a firefighter from Coventry who was also involved in the rescue of 13 British cavers in Mexico in 2004. One of them asks what day it is, and the rescuer responds, "Monday".

Capt. Akanand Surawan, a commander with the Royal Thai Navy said additional divers will accompany the doctor and nurse. They entered the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system on Saturday, June 23 but became stranded in the dark tunnels by a sudden and continuous downpour. After a break in the weather in recent days, the Thai Meteorological Department forecast for Chiang Rai calls for light rain through Friday followed by heavy rain starting Saturday and continuing through July 10.

While they appear responsive, "they are very weak and very skinny", he added.

Everything depends on how hard the dives are.

About 1,000 volunteers and rescuers, including a USA military team, had established a base camp near the mouth of the cave.



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