Thai football team found alive in cave after nine days

Thailand cave rescue efforts pick up pace as flooding eases

Rescuers found all 12 boys and their soccer coach alive deep inside a partially flooded cave in northern Thailand late Monday, more than a week after they disappeared and touched off a desperate search that drew global help and captivated the nation.

Thai authorities say they are committed to "100 percent safety" when they consider how to extract a youth soccer team from the cave complex. Video shows the moments after they were first discovered by British divers. 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.

In this grab taken from video provided by the Thai Navy Seal, a view of the boys and their soccer coach as they are rescued in a cave, in Chiang Rai in Thailand, Monday.

When one of the boys asks if they could leave the cave, the rescuers replied that they could not yet, but that many people were coming for them. After a break in the weather in recent days, the Thai Meteorological Department forecast for Chiang Rai calls for light rain through Friday followed by heavy rain starting Saturday and continuing through July 10.

Expert divers said they had made progress earlier on Monday after reaching a bend where a half-mile passageway splits into two directions.

Meanwhile, families of the 13 victims burst with joy Monday night upon learning that 10-day-long rescue operations at the Tham Luang Cave have finally been successful.

"We found all 13 safe ... we will take care of them until they can move", Chiang Rai province governor Narongsak Osottanakorn said, according to local news reports.

But, he said the group's survival depended on whether they found fresh drinking water - which, too, could pose the risk of infection.

"I'm waiting for the admiral to give us orders and trying to find a way to get them out because right now the water's really low", he said, explaining that more rainfall could complicate a rescue. The divers were aiming for a sandy chamber on higher ground in the cave.

Rescuers had been working on Monday to clear a constricted passageway for divers deep inside the flooded complex in a search operation that has been hampered by heavy rain.

Other efforts focused on finding shafts on the mountainside that might serve as a back door to the blocked-off areas where the missing team was thought to be sheltering.

The search teams have now surveyed all possible chimneys across the mountain, Osatanakorn said, and found two chimneys that are considered potentially viable options.

Water levels in the cave are expected to rise as the summer goes on, as Thailand's rainy season usually lasts from May until October. The Thai navy is already doing this short-term, sending teams with high-protein liquid food to feed the boys, keep them company and explore the cave infrastructure where they are to ensure it is safe.

Joining the British are other experts from around the world and teams from the U.S., Australia, China and elsewhere. Several fissures have been found and teams have explored some, although so far, none lead to the trapped boys.

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