After a complicated days-long rescue mission, divers on Monday found 12 boys from a Thai soccer team and their coach. The group had been trapped in a cave in Northern Thailand for nine days.
“We found all 13 safe,” Chiang Rai provincial Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn said, according to the French news agency AFP. “We will take care of them until they can move.”
The team, called the Wild Boars, is made up of boys aged 11 to 16. Along with their 25-year-old coach, 12 boys from the team had been missing since they entered the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai on Saturday, June 23 for a team outing. According to reports, the group entered the cave and were then trapped by flood waters. From the Associated Press:
Thai navy SEAL divers and rescue workers from other countries made initial progress through the narrow passageway early Monday after passing through a key chamber on Sunday whose high, murky waters had previously blocked their progress.
Narongsak said the passageway the divers were making their way through goes upward in some places and downward in others and is extremely narrow, which made it difficult for divers with all their gear to fit through.
Divers were stymied again and again by muddy water rising filing sections of the cave and forcing them to withdraw for safety reasons. When water levels dropped Sunday, the divers went forward with a more methodical approach, deploying a rope line and extra oxygen supplies along the way.
The rescuers had also been working to pump water out of the cave. Reports said doctors are a part of the rescue diving teams and that the boys would be initially treated in the cave.