Monday, 10 December, 2018

Thailand cave search: Divers close in on missing soccer team

Thai navy divers widen cave passage in search for missing boys Missing 12 boys and their football team coach are found ALIVE in a cave
Kenny Thornton | 03 July, 2018, 02:06

Narongsak Osatanakorn, governor of Chiang Rai province, said the 13 were being rescued, adding: "We found them safe".

The global rescue operation - which included the Thai Navy SEALs as well as experts from the US, China, Australia and the United Kingdom - had been working to reach a large, deep chamber, informally named Pattaya Beach, where they believed the missing boys had taken refuge.

Aisha Wiboonrungrueng, the mother of 11-year-old Chanin Wiboonrungrueng, said she would cook her son a Thai fried omelette, his favourite food, when he returns home.

Rescuers had hoped the group would find safety on a ledge in an underground chamber nicknamed Pattaya Beach but they were reportedly found 400 metres (440 yards) away.

"I'm happy", a beaming Ben Reymenants told ABC News after word of the team's rescue was assured.

(Tham Luang Rescue Operation Center via AP) Rescuers make their way up at the entrance to a cave complex where 12 boys and their soccer coach went missing, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand, Monday, July 2, 2018.

Despite the peril ahead, families and friends, some of whom have maintained a constant vigil outside the cave, hugged each other and cheered at the news. "But the operation isn't over", Chiang Rai Gov. Narongsak Osotthanakorn was quoted as saying by The Associated Press.

Rescuers have found a Thai youth football team of 12 boys and their football coach who have been missing inside a flooded mountain cave in northern Thailand for more than a week.

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The alarm was raised over a week ago, when their bikes were found near the entrance of the cavern, sparking a huge rescue effort that has gripped the nation.

Thai Navy SEAL special forces have posted a video to Facebook that shows the moment the boys were found.

"If that's what the divers have faced and they have been trying to reach them for 10 days, it's going to be very, very hard to get those boys out, particularly of course because they are so weak".

"What day is it?" one the players asks. The Thai SEALs and later their support teams had been diving around the clock since 2 a.m. Monday in nearly impossible conditions.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha thanked the worldwide experts and rescuers who helped locate the missing for their "tremendous efforts".

Experts in cave rescues from around the world continued to gather at the site.

In the video, an unidentified diver, speaking with a British accent, urges the group to stay calm and says "many, many people are coming. we are the first".

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