Twelve boys and a coach from a Thai soccer team have thankfully been found alive after an intensive nine-day search. The children, whose ages range from 11-16, play for the Wild Boar soccer team. Their coach is 25-years-old. They embarked on what was supposed to be a fun team excursion into the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system on Saturday, June 23, only to be stranded after a heavy downpour of continuous rainfall trapped them within the labyrinth of dark tunnels.
Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osatanakorn told waiting reporters, “I can confirm that they are all safe.” According to CNN, he went on to say “Our mission is not done yet. We will drain all water out from the cave then we will take all 13 people out of the cave. We are now planning how to send nurse and doctor inside the cave to check their health and movement. We will work all night.”
An international rescue effort had been working around the clock to locate the team, with the Thai Navy Seals and experts from the U.S., China, Australia, and the U.K. cooperating in hopes of finding the boys and safely returning them to their families. The operation was working to reach a particularly deep chamber casually called Pattaya Beach, where it was believed the boys may have taken refuge. The team was found about 440 yards away, having sought protection from the rising waters in a spot with a higher elevation. They were found by the Thai Navy Seals.
The team’s plight has dominated the media in the nation of Thailand as the country desperately awaited word of the boys’ fate. Many had given up hope the team would be found alive. Today, the sounds of cheers could be heard at the cave’s entrance and beyond as the good news spread. But their job isn’t finished. Now they must find a way to extract them safely from their caves.
Although the exact condition of the boys and their coach is not known, it is expected that they will need food and medical attention as soon as possible. This was initially supposed to be a day trip, and it is, therefore, unlikely they had enough supplies to last them nine days. Divers are expected to bring supplies to the boys onsite as they plot a rescue.
The team still remains in a perilous situation as the area below them is flooded and the muddy water is still rising. This initially prompted divers to withdraw, and the team was found via a system of ropes and cameras. Experts in cave rescues from around the world have gathered at the rescue site and are expected to be consulted as a rescue strategy is developed.