Published: Fri, July 06, 2018
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

Youth Soccer Team Found Alive After 9 Days Trapped in Thailand Cave

Youth Soccer Team Found Alive After 9 Days Trapped in Thailand Cave

Thai soldiers stand at the mouth of Tham Luang cave, at the Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in Chiang Rai province on Monday as the rescue operation continues for a missing children's soccer team and their coach.

A huge global 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.

The governor of Chiang Rai province, Narongsak Osottanakorn, said Thai navy Seals had found the group in the six-mile Tham Luang cave, on the border with Laos and Myanmar, "all with signs of life".

"One of them told me that they can barely see their hand in front of their face".

Ekkapol Janthawong, the group's coach, occasionally took the group on day trips.

"Divers have managed to reach the boys and they have managed to get shelter at an area known underground as Pattaya Beach - that's a sort of nickname given to it by local people".

One boy, noticing the camera and hearing unfamiliar words, says in Thai, "Oh, they want to take a picture; tell him we're hungry".

But overjoyed relatives who had clustered near the cave in an increasingly desperate vigil hugged and smiled as news of the miracle rescue filtered back.

But experts say that as the boys can not swim, the safest solution would be to wait for the water to drain from the cave.

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Anmar Mirza, US National Cave Rescue Commission coordinator, said: "Trying to take non-divers through a cave is one of the most unsafe situations possible, even if the dives are relatively easy". "Monday. You have been here - 10 days". "Next mission is to bring them out from the cave and send them home".

Medics successfully reached the team, and doctors have advised they be provided with several kinds of medicine to "prevent infection and other illnesses".

In the course of their search they were repeatedly blocked by rising water that filled sections of the cave and forced them to withdraw for safety reasons.

The group appeared exhausted, rake thin, sensitive to the light but lucid, with some speaking faltering English to try to communicate with the unidentified diver.

There were no immediate details on exactly how they were going to be rescued, given that the cave system was still flooded.

"They should be okay without food for eight days", said Dr Somsak Akkasilp, the director-general of the Medical Services Department.

Thailand's prime minister on Monday evening thanked the global experts and rescuers.

Mr Narongsak held a media briefing early Tuesday, less than 12 hours after he announced to the country the welcome news that divers had located the team members deep inside the Mae Sai district cave complex.

But one cave rescue expert was cautious about this approach. An official Australian group has now followed a USA military team, British cave experts, Chinese lifesaving responders and several other volunteer groups from various countries.

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