Thai official: Boys trapped in cave may have to dive despite peril

Rescuers walk out of the entrance to a cave complex where 12 soccer team members and their coach went missing in Mae Sai Chiang Rai province in northern Thailand Saturday

A dozen boys and their soccer coach have been found alive inside a flooded cave in Thailand more than a week after they went missing, according to a provincial governor.

Chiang Rai Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn said Tuesday morning that they used a field assessment in which red is critical condition, yellow is serious condition and green is stable condition.

Narongsak explained early Monday that fixing rope lines and deploying oxygen tanks along their route will allow the divers to operate. The cave floods during Thailand's rainy season and even elite Thai navy SEAL divers were finding it hard to move through the muddy waters, currents and tight passageways.

Authorities say the only ways the 12 teenage boys and their coach can escape will be by learning to scuba dive, getting dragged out by divers, or waiting months for the flooding that trapped them in the cave to subside.

Then the boy breaks into simple English, saying, "Eat, eat, eat", to which another voice responds in Thai that he already told that to the rescuer.

The search for the group had gripped the nation as it was unclear where they were or whether they even were still alive.

The missing boys, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach entered the sprawling Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai province after soccer practice on June 23.

Two British rescuer divers who had flown over to join the search operation found the boys on Monday night. "10 days. You are very strong".

"As of now we have not yet reached Pattaya Beach", he said.

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Worldwide rescue teams, including 30 USA military personnel, have joined the search for the junior soccer team.

Families of the missing group were ecstatic at news of the rescue.

"Everyone is coming together to figure out the next course of action and how to bring them out as safely and as quickly as possible", Tait said.

"We called this "mission impossible" because it rained every day. but with our determination and equipment we fought nature", Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osottanakorn said on Tuesday. They were located near a chamber known as Pattaya Beach, which has a higher elevation.

Meanwhile, other efforts to access the cave such as through drilling, and finding alternative passages, as well as draining water out of the cave, will continue.

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

If the children are to be brought out before then, they will have to learn basic diving skills.

Australian police and military personnel were deployed Saturday to join other multinational teams, including USA military personnel and experts from a British cave exploration club.

Doctors are preparing to swim into the cave to check the team's conditions and find any serious injuries. Many, many people. We're the first. 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. Several fissures have been found and teams have explored some, though so far none have led to the trapped boys.

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