Missing Thai soccer team found alive in flooded cave after nine days

3 July 2018

Missing Thai soccer team found alive in flooded cave after nine days

A Thai soccer team, comprising of 12 boys and one assistant coach, have been found alive by rescuers inside a cave in Thailand nine days after they went missing.

The boys, aged between 11 and 16, went missing along with their 25 year old coach after soccer practice on 23 June, after they went to explore the Tham Luang cave complex in Chiang Rai, the largest northernmost city in Thailand.

A massive international rescue effort commenced, with rescue teams battling through thick mud and high water in order to reach the group.

Chiang Rai’s province governor, Narongsak Osottanakorn, announced that rescue teams found signs of life from all of the 13 missing persons.

“Thai Navy seals have found all 13 with signs of life,” he said, while rescuers were trying to clear a constricted passageway on Monday for divers deep inside the flooded cave that had been hampered by heavy rain.

The divers, which are from Thailand’s elite navy SEAL unit, were focusing on an elevated mound inside the cave which cavers have named, ‘Pattaya Beach’, a location that could have provided the boys with refuge when torrential rain flooded the cave.

“The SEALs reported that … they reached Pattaya Beach which was flooded. So they went 400 metres further where we found the 13 … who were safe,” Governor Narongsak told the cheering group of reporters.

However, while the boys have been found safe, the Governer said that “the operation isn’t over.”

The challenge now lies in the ability to get the boys out of the cave, which some have called a ‘labyrinth’.

Rescuers have been discussing on waiting until the water levels have dropped before going in to retrieve the boys.

Other options include teaching the group of boys to use diving gear to navigate the flooded cave.

The Governor also announced that medical teams will be sent in to assess the health of the boys, which would take at least 4 hours to find out how fit they are before coming up with a strategy to get them out of the cave.