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Rediff.com  » News » Junior soccer team, trapped in Thai caves, found safe after 9 days

Junior soccer team, trapped in Thai caves, found safe after 9 days

July 03, 2018 09:58 IST

Rescue teams have found the 12 boys and their football coach, who had been trapped in a flooded Thai cave for nine days.

IMAGE: Soldiers and rescue workers work in Tham Luang cave complex, as an ongoing search for members of an under-16 soccer team and their coach continues, in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand. Photograph: Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters

Aged between 11 and 16 years old, the boys were members of the Wild Boar soccer team, CNN reported.

On June 23, the boys and their 25-year-old coach had entered the Tham Luang network of caves on a team outing. However, they were stranded following a heavy and continuous downpour that flooded the cave.

IMAGE: Relatives of the missing boys show photos of them after the 12 boys and their soccer coach have been found alive in the cave where they've been missing for over a week after monsoon rains blocked the main entrance. Photograph: Linh Pham/Getty Images

The international rescue operation team included Thai Navy SEALs and experts from the United States, China, Australia and the United Kingdom.

 

The team was focused on reaching a deep chamber in the cave system, dubbed as ‘Pattaya Beach’, where they believed the group had sheltered themselves.

The Thai Navy SEALs released a video footage on their official Facebook page showing the moment when the group was found.

IMAGE: Relatives of the missing boys pray for them after they were found alive. Photograph: Linh Pham/Getty Images

Amid the emotional discovery, Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn warned that the mission is “not done yet” and a medical team needs to enter the cave network to assess the boys.

We will drain all water out from the cave then we will take all 13 people out of the cave. We are now planning how to send (a) nurse and doctor inside the cave to check their health and movement. We will work all night,” Osottanakorn said.

A rescue consultant said that the boys and their coach would most likely be required to dive to exit the cave system.

IMAGE: Relatives of the missing boys react after the 12 boys and their soccer coach have been found alive in the cave where they've been missing for over a week. Photograph: Linh Pham/Getty Images

Ben Reymenants, a Belgian diver part of the team supporting the rescue mission, said the boys could be cut off if the expected rains are severe.

“Time is not on our side - we're expecting heavy rain in three days,” he told BBC Newsnight on Monday. “If the cave system would flood it would make the access impossible to the kids.’

He added: “Two volunteer navy seal doctors sacrificed themselves and offered to stay with the kids for up to three to four months until the water subsides.”

-- With inputs from Agencies

Source: ANI