Thai football team lost for 9 days in cave ‘found safe’ - governor


An undated handout photo released by Royal Thai Army on 02 July 2018 shows Thai soldiers working on inside the cave complex during a rescue operation for a missing youth soccer team and their coach at Tham Luang cave in Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park, Chiang Rai province, Thailand. Photo: EPA/ Royal Thai Army

The governor of Chiang Rai in northern Thailand says all missing boys and their coach have been found and are safe.

"We found all 13 safe... we will take care of them until they can move," Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osottanakorn said.

There has been no contact with the boys, aged between 11 and 16, since they went missing with their football coach nine days ago.

Time has been running out as divers inched through thick mud, water and winding crevices towards an air pocket where the group is believed to be.

The massive rescue effort has been hampered by heavy rains that flooded the Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand, blocking access to chambers where it is hoped the group will be found alive.

Divers took advantage of a brief window of good weather on Monday to edge further into the cave, with the water levels dropping slowly but steadily every hour thanks to round-the-clock water pumping.

Friends and teachers of the "Wild Boar" football team have refused to give up hope of seeing the young players again and have been camped out at the site at the base of mountain where the 10 kilometre cave is located on the Thai-Myanmar border.

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.

Rescuers found their bicycles, football boots and backpacks near the cave's entrance and discovered handprints and footprints further in.

They likely have access to fresh water inside the cave and officials believe they brought snacks with them and possibly headlamps too.

Even without food, experts have said young, athletic boys could survive for several weeks if they are not injured -- and don't attempt to escape through deep floods.

The rescue operation has captivated Thailand for over a week and gained international attention with skilled cave divers arriving from the UK and the US to help the major search operation.

Additional reporting by Mizzima

More Articles

....