Junior soccer team found alive in Thai cave after nine days
04 July, 2018, 07:12
A doctor, a nurse, and Navy SEALs are now keeping them company.
Due to high flood waters, rescue operations are battling rising water, and operations leaders have stated concerns that the team may either have to learn how to dive, or wait months for the flooding to recede.
He told a news conference that his team members "have given the boys food, starting from easily digested and high-powered food with enough minerals".
There are fears fresh rainfall over the next few days could add to flooding in the caves - meaning the boys, who cannot swim, may have to wait until the end of monsoon season in October before they can be brought to safety.
Navy Seal Chief Rear Admiral Aphakorn Yoo-kongkaew vowed to bring them all out safely so they could be reunited with their families.
When one of the boys asked if they could leave the cave, the rescuers replied that they could not yet but that many people were coming for them.
Thailand's Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda summed it best when he described the cave as "unlike diving in a swimming pool".
Reymenants said the easiest option would be to "keep pumping the water out of the cave".
A phone line is also being installed so the boys can talk to their families.
The governor of Chiang Rai province, Narongsak Osatanakorn, said that all 13 were found safe at about 10:30 pm local time Monday.
The governor said that requests had been made to build "infrastructure" in the cave leading to the pocket where the teenagers and their coach are located.
Thai authorities said they are committed to "100 percent safety" when they consider how to extract the youth soccer team from the partially flooded cave.
British divers Rick Stanton and John Volanthen were two of the first rescuers to to find the group.
A video shared by the Thai Navy captured their first contact. 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".
Having been underground for so long, it appears that the group were confused as to what day it was. Brilliant", he says. When asked by the group if they will be leaving the cave, the diver says: "No, not today, not today.
The search for the group had gripped the nation as it was unclear where they were or whether they even were still alive.
The missing man had been the only person to ever explore the chamber beyond 700 meters, and he was trying to go beyond that when he disappeared.
Thailand's prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has thanked the worldwide experts who assisted in the search.
Cave-diving expert Ben Raymenants, who was 400 metres behind the two Britons who located the boys just beyond a chamber dubbed "Pattaya Beach", said the weather would be "the deciding factor" regarding which exit strategy would be deployed.
The Moo Pa team were exploring the Tham Luang Nang Non cave on 23 June. Bill Whitehouse, the group's vice chairman, tells NPR's Ari Shapiro that the call last week even came with flight tickets - "so they had to rush around, finish getting their kit together and get themselves down to [London's] Heathrow Airport ready to fly out". The elevated rock where the boys and their coach were found is about 4 km (2.5 mi) from the mouth of the cave.
The only trace of them had been bicycles and soccer cleats found outside the entrance of the complex, and handprints along the cave walls.
Rescue workers carry oxygen tanks to Tham Luang cave.
Khaosod English, a Bangkok-based news organization, reported that officials are calling for donations of small diving masks that would fit the boys, as regular diving equipment could be too unsafe. "There is current. The visibility can be zero at times".
Other teams are still scouring the mountainside in the hope of finding another way in to the cave.
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