February 18, 2019

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

03 July 2018, 01:24 | Anna Jefferson

Divers cling to hope of finding lost Thai boys

Rescuers walk out of the entrance to a cave complex where 12 soccer team members and their coach went missing in Mae Sai Chiang Rai province in northern Thailand Saturday

When the rescuers first reached the cave system, it was flooded, and they had to go another 300 to 400 meters before they spotted the stranded boys.

The astonishing rescue sparked jubilation across the country after a massive and gruelling operation beset by heavy downpours and fast-moving floodwaters.

The governor of Chiang Rai province, Narongsak Osatanakorn, said Tuesday that all 13 had an "informal" medical evaluation inside the cave and most are in stable condition and none are in critical condition.

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

Thai Navy SEAL special forces have posted a video to Facebook that shows the moment the boys were found.

Dramatic footage was released early this morning of an emaciated and bedraggled Thai youth football team crammed onto a wedge of dry ground surrounded by water deep inside a cave that has held them captive for nine days.

"The Royal Thai Government and the Thai people are grateful for this support and cooperation, and we all wish the team a safe and speedy recovery", Prayuth's office said in a statement. "We will work all night", Osottanakorn said.

The diver responded, "No, not today, not today".

"You have been here for 10 days, you are very strong", one of the divers tells the boys.

A rake thin child in the foreground appears to bow in gratitude and says "thank you" as his voice falters. They were apparently trapped inside by flooding caused by heavy rain and have not been heard from since.

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

The Thai rescue team was joined by two British rescue divers who found the boys late Monday.

"I found out from the television".

One of the toughest stretches for the divers came as they neared so-called Pattaya Beach - an elevated mound in the cave complex - where it was hoped the boys had sought refuge. I have been waiting for my son for so many days.

"I am so glad that I can not think of anything else", an uncle of a 13-year-old football player of Mu Pa Academy Mae Sai said. I am so excited.

"I want him to be physically and mentally fit", she said.

However, after more than a week of no news and fading hopes, two British divers, part of an global team of rescuers involved in the effort, reached the so-called Pattaya Beach deep-water cave, where the boys and their mentor were holing up, on Monday.

However, rescuers still face the challenge of safely helping the boys and their coach to safety through almost a mile of tunnels, large portions of which are underwater.

The team's travails are not over with a complex operation predicted to try to free the ailing group from the cave - which is still partially submerged. The rescue operation had gripped the attention of Thailand and beyond as people across the region collectively prayed for a miracle in the search that had entered its tenth day on Monday.

Scores of divers, including foreign experts, have been sent into the cave with hundreds of oxygen tanks, establishing a base camp inside the chambers over the weekend.

Last week, a team from the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, including survival specialists, were flown in from Okinawa to help with the search.

Shamans and Buddhist monks have held prayers and given offerings at the cave imploring mountain "spirits" to return the boys safely.

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