All 12 boys and football coach trapped in Thailand cave 'found alive'

Wednesday, 04 Jul, 2018

The world let out a sigh of relief when the missing members of a Thai youth soccer team were found alive in a cave in northern Thailand on Monday.

Twelve boys and their assistant soccer coach have been found alive by rescuers inside a Thai cave complex nine days after they went missing, Chiang Rai province's governor said on Monday.

Rescue divers had spent much of Monday making preparations for a final push to locate the lost soccer players, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach. The effort drew worldwide help and has riveted Thailand.

Lawyer Ananchai Chaiyadech said it's likely the coach will escape charges as it appeared he didn't have intent to put the boys in danger as it hadn't started raining when he led them inside.

Engineers have been pumping water out of the cave for a week and a temporary respite from the rains has lowered water levels.

"Diving is not easy".

The cave is popular with tourists who venture into the cavernous entrance, however the tunnels narrow to the point that it's only possible to crawl through them.

He said: "If something happens midway, it could be life-threatening".

Rescue teams from the United Kingdom had joined Thai soldiers in hunting for the boys in the Tham Luang cave in Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park.

Food is being delivered to them, as it may take a long time for them either to learn how to dive or for the flood waters to subside enough for them to be rescued.

"Literally, he finished his line, stuck the line reel in the mud, and they were looking down", Vernon Unsworth, his friend and fellow cave explorer, said on Tuesday. "We have taken care of those boys following the doctor's recommendation".

A diver helping to rescue a group of boys who have been trapped in a cave in Thailand says the kids entered the complex as part of an "initiation". "Maybe some of the boys have injuries or light injuries and would be categorized as yellow condition". Getting boys through there one by one. "I want to tell him I'm still here waiting", Kieng Khamleu, said of her son Pornchai Khamleung inside the cave.

The group went into the caves June 23 and got trapped by rising floodwaters.

In the five-minute navy video, the boys are seen wearing their soccer uniforms and are calm, curious and polite.

How can they get out?

"Monday. Monday. You have been here 10 days". Why couldn't the rescuers help them immediately? Here's what we know: Who are the people trapped in the Thai cave? A Thai Navy Seal commander says a team of seven, including a doctor, is staying with them. At the end of the video, a boy asked in English, "Where do you come from?"

Cave-diving expert Ben Raymenants, who was 400 metres behind the two Britons who located the boys just beyond "Pattaya Beach", said the weather would be "the deciding factor" regarding which exit strategy would be deployed.

John Volanthen was placing guidelines in an attempt to get closer to the missing team in the flooded cave network when he found the boys. In the meantime, professional divers are highlighting how hard any rescue would be by battling the hard conditions in order to bring the boys food and medicine. "It will seem very bright when they come out into the sunshine".

Two Thai medical workers have also joined the cave's occupants to keep them company and monitor their health, the SEALs added.

This is similar, but instead of teaching the boys to dive, they'll be fitted with wetsuits and full-face oxygen masks and passed along a human chain until they're out of the cave.

The trapped team drew global help, including from US military rescuers and British cave experts. The Thai navy captain Anand Surawan has previously said: "We will prepare to send additional food to be sustained for at least four months and train all 13 to dive while continuing to drain the water".