Junior soccer team found alive in Thai cave after nine days

Sherman Parsons
July 4, 2018

Members of a youth soccer team and their coach have been found alive following nine days spent trapped in a cave in Thailand, per CNN's Kocha Olarn and Lauren Said-Moorhouse.

Cave diver Ben Reymenants, part of the team assisting the rescue effort, told NBC's "Today" show that he was "very surprised obviously that they are all alive and actually mentally also healthy".

They are taking food, electricity equipments and telephone wires as they are trying to set up an control center in a chamber about 3 km away from where the boys are believed to be, according to Narongsak Osottanakorn, governor of Chiang Rai province.

Rescue divers had spent much of Monday making preparations for a final push to locate the missing, efforts that had been hampered much of the week by flooding that made moving through tight passageways filled with muddy water hard.

Experts have said the safest option could be to supply the 12 boys and their coach where they are and wait for the water levels to drop. Many people are coming.

The 12 boys, ranging in age from 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old assistant coach disappeared on June 23 after soccer practice.

One of the boys asks when they will get out of the cave, to which the rescuer answers: "Not today".

"It's unimaginable. I've been waiting for 10 days, I never imagined this day would come", the father of one of the boys said.

"We surveyed all areas and there were reported to be about 20, and out of that there are about 10 with the possibility of having shafts", Gov. Narongsak said.

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More food supplies have already been sent to the cave since rescue teams are not certain how long a safe exit could take.

Medical teams were seen preparing first aid kits after news of the group's discovery broke outside the cave's entrance.

Yesterday, unofficially, we assessed that most are in the green category, " said Chiang Rai provincial Governor Narongsak Osatanakorn.

Rescuers had been working on Monday to clear a constricted passageway for divers deep inside the flooded cave complex in a search operation that has been hampered by heavy rain. They were located near a chamber known as Pattaya Beach, which has a higher elevation.

Other efforts focused on finding shafts on the mountainside that might serve as a back door to the blocked-off areas where the missing team was thought to be sheltering. They must be able to use diving gear.

The cave system is at least four miles long and waters can reach 5 metres (16 feet) during the rainy season, from June through October, Police Col. Kam Saardluan told the AP.

Medics have descended to assess their health status since they looked weak to the British divers who discovered them on an elevated rock where they took refuge. He said the primary decision is whether to try to evacuate the boys and their coach or to supply them in place.

He said the Navy Seal rescuers asked the boys how they survived and they replied that they tried to lie still and drank water that dripped through the limestone in the cave.

Joining the British are other cave experts from around the world and teams from the US, Australia, China and elsewhere.

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