Boys and Soccer Coach Found After Missing for Nine Days in Thailand

Geneva Stokes
July 6, 2018

His office said the PM "wishes to thank the tremendous efforts of all global units that have come to assist the Thai authorities in rescuing the youth football team that was stuck in the caves in Chiang Rai".

Aside from belongings left at the mouth of the cave and handprints on the walls, no trace of them has been found since.

Teams from the United States, Australia, China and Japan have joined almost 1,000 Thai rescuers at the mountainous location, according to AFP.

Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn said the navy divers reached Pattaya Beach, but it was flooded, so they carried on for 400 metres where where they found the 13 "who were safe". But he added that they were not out of danger yet.

The soccer team of 12 boys, aged between 11 and 16, along with their 25-year-old coach, entered the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai on June 23 but no contact has been made with them since. Many of them had been putting fruit and sweet treats near the cave each day as an offering to spirits they believe protect the cave.

"Thank you", one of the boys replied.

Aisha Wiboonrungrueng, the mother of 11-year-old Chanin Wiboonrungrueng, said she would cook her son a Thai fried omelette, his favourite food, when he returns home.

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Divers of the Thai Navy Seals reached "chamber three" earlier this week but the rising flood water prevented them from moving further in.

Australian police and military personnel were deployed Saturday to join other multinational teams of experts.

A Thai provincial governor says all 12 boys and their coach have been found alive in the cave where they went missing over a week ago in northern Thailand.

"The best option is to leave them where they are and stabilize their environment", said Peter Wolf, the national director of the Cave Divers Association of Australia told the Guardian. Narongsak said rescuers found the team about 10:30 p.m. local time, but they are still trying to figure out how to get the group out of the cave, Thai News Agency reported.

But experts have cautioned that taking inexperienced divers through the unsafe corridors of muddy, zero-visibility waters would be a very risky operation.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha thanked the worldwide experts and rescuers who helped locate the missing for their "tremendous efforts". Mirza said, "trying to take non-divers through cave is one of the most risky situations possible, even if the dives are relatively easy".

"Which team won today?" one parent asked fellow parents jokingly, a reference to the ongoing football World Cup. A rescuer answered, "Monday. 10 days. You are very strong". "I'm so happy I can't put it into words", another relative of one of one of the group told television reporters with tears of joy streaming down his cheeks.

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