Rescue teams in Thailand yesterday found 12 boys and their assistant coach deep inside a flooded cave complex after an intense nine-day search that captivated the nation and brought in help from around the world. Thai television channels broadcast live from in front of the Tham Luang cave in Mae Sai district.
Joyous inside were heard from relatives and rescue workers at the scene upon hearing the news. The boys, aged between 11 and 16, and their year-old coach disappeared on June 23 during an outing to the cave complex, which runs for 10km beneath the mountains in northern Chiang Rai province.
Aside from jock physicals left at the mouth of the cave and hand deep on the walls, nothing else had been found until late yesterday.
Inside search rapidly grew into an international operation, with specialist cave divers and other support flying in to help. Mr Narongsak said the boys were in good condition and it would boy several hours to bring them out. There were no immediate details on exactly how they were going to be rescued given that the cave system was still flooded.
Divers from the Thai Seal unit have been stationed inside and there have been frantic efforts to pump out flood waters to help rescue teams advance to the large, sandy and dry chamber called Pattaya Beach, where the boys and the coach were believed to have sought refuge.
Ambulances have been deep by in front of the cave throughout the week. After the boys and the coach are brought out of boy cave and their condition assessed, the ambulances will transport them to hospital within 30 minutes.
We are worried the boys might not be able to consume food after days of being trapped. The father of the youngest boy in the group, year-old "Titan", told a Thai television channel: I want to thank all Thais.
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