A military transport helicopter carries a drill machine to be used for the rescue search of missing 12 boys and their soccer coach, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand, Monday, July 2, 2018.
The governor of Chiang Rai province, Narongsak Osottanakorn, said Thai navy Seals had found the group in the six-mile Tham Luang Nang Non cave, on the border with Laos and Myanmar, "all with signs of life".
But late on Monday all 13 of them were found with video footage taken by their rescuers showing them sitting together still in their soccer kits above the water level inside the dark cave. "I've been here since the start because I felt sympathy for them", she says. "This is like out of a movie, truthfully", U.S. Air Force Capt. Jessica Tait, a spokeswoman for the 353rd Special Operations Group, told ABC News at the base camp near the entrance to the cave.
One possible option floated by rescuers is to teach the group how to use diving gear, then leading them out of the cave that way.
Late Monday Chiang Rai provincial governor broke the news of their rescue, delighting a nation which has anxiously followed every twist and turn of the effort to save them.
Divers searching for the team had been hampered repeatedly by rising rainwater that filled sections of the cave and forced them to withdraw for safety reasons. "Next mission is to bring them out from the cave and send them home".
Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osatanakorn said on Monday that the 13 were being rescued but warned they were not out of danger yet.
The football team and their 25-year-old assistant coach went into the cave on June 23 after a training session and got stuck when heavy rains cut them off from the entrance.
For ten days they have been struggling to survive, as rescue personnel from the Thai military, local officials, the USA military and foreign caving and topological experts all worked tirelessly to locate and reach the trapped soccer team (ages 11-16 and their coach, age 25). "You have been here for 10 days, you are very strong".
There have also been suggestions that drilling could be another way to get to the boys, and to help them out.
"I'm so glad. I want to him to be physically and mentally fit", said Tinnakorn Boonpiem, whose 12-year-old son Mongkol is among the rescued group. "Today the situation is much better and we have high hopes, and will be here all night". He said the primary decision is whether to try to evacuate the boys and their coach or to supply them in place.
Divers are now closing in on elevated dry area, called Pattaya Beach, where they believe the missing boys may have taken refuge in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system.
Even though the hikers has been located, the rescue teams were not ready to extract them yet as of early Tuesday morning, local time (Monday evening, July 2 in the US).
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