Chiang Rai, Monday
All 12 boys and their football coach have been found alive after nine days missing in caves in Thailand, the regional governor says.
All of them are safe, Narongsak Osottanakorn confirmed, speaking after a mammoth search operation in the Tham Luang caves in Chiang Rai.
They were discovered by naval special forces, he said. The challenge now will be to extract the party safely, with rising water and mud impeding access.
Rescuers had hoped the group would find safety on a ledge in an underground chamber nicknamed Pattaya Beach but they were found 400 metres away having moved to higher ground to avoid the rising water.
The group’s plight has gripped the country and led to an outpouring of support. The boys aged 11 to 16 and their coach went to explore the caves on June 23.
There are scenes of jubilation here at the cave entrance — drowned out by the generators powering the water pumps and filling the air tanks for the dozens of divers whose persistence in the toughest of underground conditions has paid off.
Now the authorities must figure out how to extract them.
The first priority is to get them medical treatment and food where they are, to rebuild their strength.
The whole country has watched every stage of this operation, holding its breath for what seemed an increasingly unlikely happy ending.
They are not out yet but this is an uplifting breakthrough after the Thai government threw everything it could to try to save these boys’ lives.
More than 1,000 people have been involved in the rescue operation, including teams from China, Myanmar, Laos, Australia and the US. — BBC