Teen soccer team may be stuck in Thailand cave for months

Soldiers work outside Tham Luang while divers moved further inside the cave in Mae Sai district Chiang Rai on Sunday

Soldiers work outside Tham Luang while divers moved further inside the cave in Mae Sai district Chiang Rai on Sunday

"Although water levels have dropped", says the British Cave Rescue Council, the volunteer divers' small charity organization, "the diving conditions remain hard and any attempt to dive the boys and their coach out will not be taken lightly because there are significant technical challenges and risks to consider". Experts have said that the safest option appears to be re-supplying the boys and their coach with food and water until the water level drops far enough for them to more easily swim out.

Thai Navy seals released a video Monday showing the moment they found the 12 young soccer players and their coach, 9 days after they went missing.

Due to high flood waters, rescue operations are battling rising water, and operations leaders have stated concerns that the team may either have to learn how to dive, or wait months for the flooding to recede.

John Volanthen and Richard "Rick" Stanton are expert cave divers skilled in navigating perilous underwater passages, a colleague says - and they've been called overseas before to help with hard rescues.

Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda, a member of the country's ruling military junta, said Tuesday that the boys may need to swim out using diving equipment ahead of bad weather forecast for later in the week.

Any more rainfall could raise water levels inside the cave, making it harder for the team to get out but Thailand is now in its rainy season.

However, Osottanakorn said when rescuers reached Pattaya Beach they found it too was underwater. The Thai Navy SEALs leading the rescue mission will determine when they can "bring them out in 100% safety".

Chiang Rai provincial Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn said the 13 were being rescued, but cautioned that they were not out of danger yet. A doctor and nurse are among those tending to the boys and their coach.

They had been missing for nine days before they were found on Monday.

Relatives keeping vigil at the mouth of the cave since the ordeal began rejoiced at the news that their boys and their coach had been found.

One of the boys replies that he is hungry, while another boy says to the rescuers, "Thank you so much". "Maybe some of the boys have injuries or light injuries and would be categorized as yellow condition".

Experts have started planning in detail how to extract the group from the place they were found more than a 1.6km underground. When will they get out of the cave?

The Thai military said it was providing months' worth of food and diving lessons to the boys.

It remains unclear whether any of the group are injured or in need of medical attention, but they have been given energy gels to sustain them while a plan is worked out to bring them to safety. She said she would cook her son a Thai fried omelet, his favorite food, when he returns home.

It is believed the team entered the Tham Luang cave on June 23 when it was still dry, before sudden heavy rains blocked their exit.

Rescuers located the boys, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach alive deep inside the partially flooded cave in northern Thailand late Monday.

Both have extensive cave diving experience and are members of a volunteer team - the British Cave Rescue Council - that makes itself available for rescue efforts around the world, BCRC liaison officer Chris Jewell said. "In these 10 days, how many million seconds have there been?" Local and worldwide rescuers, including a team of Thai navy divers and cave experts, had spent days trying to locate the team, but muddy waters complicated efforts and blocked access to the chambers of the cave complex.

Rescuers are closely watching the forecast, which calls for more rain over the weekend.

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