Thailand Cave Rescue: Missing Boys Found Alive After Nine Days

Asia News Network

Asia News Network

The discovery of 12 young Thai footballers and their coach alive after nine days trapped in caves in the north of the country has made headlines around the world. "So I'd say, yeah, it's an accurate statement that it's challenging". "I felt like, 'What if it was my kid?'"

On Sunday, searchers speculated that the boys, ages 11 and 16, and their 25-year-old coach had found refuge atop an elevated rock mound to escape an increase in water due to heavy rains.

The Tham Luang complex is prone to severe flooding during Thailand's rainy season, which lasts from June to October.

It is not known why the team ventured into the cave, but they had been there before - some of the boys knew it well.

The Australian team had joined forces with 11 Chinese rescue experts, up to 32 United States forces personnel, three British divers and a British cave expert as well as rescue teams from Myanmar and Laos.

It is believed Mr Volanthen and Mr Stanton are part of the South and Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team and helped rescue a trapped diver in France in 2010.

However, the Underwater Demolition Assault Unit (UDAU), colloquially known as the Thai Navy SEALs, were able to discover the boys' location and reach them safely.

Narongsak said the divers located the missing about 300 - 400 metres past a section of the cave that was on higher ground and was thought to be where the team members and their coach may have taken shelter.

But the channels leading to this, now flooded, have proven hard for divers to navigate.

All 12 players of the team known as Wild Boar, as well as their coach, were located in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system on Monday. Submersible pumps sent water gushing out into neighboring farmlands as fresh rains filled the chambers up again.

Narongsak Osatanakorn said that the group are safe after a massive search operation took place in the Tham Luang Nang Non caves.

The slightest of progress on Monday - divers advanced a few hundred yards - worked wonders on the spirit, but the news still came as a shock.

"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". In Chiang Rai, the provincial capital, shopkeepers were glued to their smartphones.

It remained unclear whether any of the group were 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.

"People speak a lot about life, that life has worth", he says.

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