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Young boys, coach found deep in Thai cave

04 July, 2018, 01:31 | Author: Lula Armstrong
  • An ethnic Akha woman prays for the return of the missing members of an under-16 soccer team

Twelve members of a boys' soccer team in Thailand and their coach have been found alive nine days after the group was trapped in a cave in the northern part of the country.

He says "supplying them on site may face challenges depending on how hard the dives are".

"The American people join Thais in celebrating the discovery of the football team and their coach in Tham Luang cave", said US Ambassador to Thailand Glyn Davies.

"The best option is to leave them where they are and stabilize their environment", said Peter Wolf, the national director of the Cave Divers Association of Australia told the Guardian. Local and global rescuers, including a team of Thai navy divers and cave experts, had spent days trying to locate the team, but muddy waters complicated efforts and blocked access to the chambers of the cave complex.

The rising mud and water levels of the caves pose a continued danger to the children and the governor plans to drain water out of the caves to send doctors and nurses in. Many people are coming.

A massive global 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.

The missing boys, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach entered the sprawling Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai province after soccer practice on June 23. 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.

"We surveyed all areas and there were reported to be about 20, and out of that there are about 10 with the possibility of having shafts", Gov. Narongsak said.


"So we will run two operations, opening this channel to get through and maintaining so all the rescue team can get inside and work there".

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

Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osatanakorn announced the development, stating "We found them safe".

The divers' goal is to get to an area of the cave known as Pattaya Beach. Other efforts include draining water from the cave and exploring the mountainside for shafts and other entrances to the caverns below.

The heavy seasonal rains hampered the search operation, with divers groping their way along the cave walls, barely able to see in the muddy water, but the pumps had helped to bring down water levels in recent days. He said the diving teams included doctors.

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.

One of the boys is heard to say: "Eat, eat, eat, tell them we are hungry".

Australian police and military personnel were deployed Saturday to join other multinational teams, including USA military personnel and experts from a British cave exploration club.

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