See moment divers reach teens trapped in cave

Rescue teams have found all 12 boys and their soccer coach alive in a cave in Thailand nine days after the group went missing, according to a high-ranking person involved in the search and rescue operation.

Posted: Jul 3, 2018 3:00 PM
Updated: Jul 3, 2018 3:00 PM

Rescue teams have found all 12 boys and their soccer coach alive in a cave in Thailand nine days after the group went missing.

The boys, aged between 11 and 16 years old and are all members of the Wild Boar soccer team, entered the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system on Saturday, June 23, for a team outing, but became stranded in the dark tunnels by a sudden and continuous downpour.

The international rescue operation -- which includes the Thai Navy SEALs as well as experts from the US, China, Australia and the UK -- had been working to reach a large, deep chamber, informally known as Pattaya Beach, where the missing boys were believed to have taken refuge.

"I confirm they are all safe," Narongsak Osottanakorn, governor of the local region Chiang Rai, told reporters on Monday night.

Osottanakorn said the rescuers had reached Pattaya Beach but found it was flooded. The Thai Navy SEAL divers continued a further 300 to 400 meters where they located the team.

The Thai Navy released a video on Facebook apparently showing the moment the group were found. In the almost 5-minute clip, the boys are illuminated by torchlight while a diver can be heard speaking to them.

"How many of you?" one of the rescuers calls out in English, before a faint "Thirteen!" is heard in response.

"Thirteen? Brilliant!" the rescuer says, before continuing: "We are coming, it's OK, many people are coming ... we are the first."

The rescuer tells them: "You are very strong, very strong."

Amid the emotional discovery, Governor Osottanakorn warned that the mission is "not done yet" and a medical team needs to enter the cave network to assess the boys.

"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 (a) nurse and doctor inside the cave to check their health and movement. We will work all night," Osottanakorn said.

Next phase of rescue

In Thailand, the search efforts have captured the public's attention with wall-to-wall media coverage as many waited with bated breath for a positive outcome.

Outside the cave system, there were exhausted but jubilant scenes on Monday night. Families -- many of whom have maintained a constant vigil since the team went missing -- could be seen cheering the good news on a live feed from the Facebook page of the Chiang Rai provincial Public Relations Department.

Tim Newton, a journalist based in Phuket, told CNN getting the team out of the cave will be the next challenge and that it will take time.

"Now they've got to try and figure out how to get these 13 very weak footballers out of the caves and that is going to be an enormous task," Newton said.

"They've got some medical doctors who are also divers, who are ready to get into the caves. They clearly want to stabilize the boys before they try and bring them out.

"There is some talk they may try to bring them out as early as tomorrow but the most important thing is try and stabilize them," he added.

Pat Moret, a rescue consultant, added the team will likely need a lot of medical treatment before they can be moved.

"They'll need fluids replacing (and) possibly feeding. They're going to need reheating. They've possibly been lying still for days now. And sensory faculties won't be what they should be. So I would think that they're not really fit to move for maybe 12 hours or so really."

Even after that, the kids and their coach may need to dive to get out of the cave, Moret added.

"Worst case scenario is that they have to dive them out. So they're being fully immersed in water, wearing what we know is a full face mask or maybe even some sort of commercial dive helmet to make it a little less stressful for them. But it will be a truly terrifying experience," Moret said.

A park officer first sounded the alarm after spotting the boys' bicycles near the entrance to the off-limits cave complex.

The cave labyrinth is popular with tourists and for the first kilometer (0.6 miles) or so inside the cavernous entrance, limestone rock formations, huge high ceilings, creating an almost amphitheater-like atmosphere.

Late last week trekkers discovered a hidden opening deep in the jungle giving an alternative point of entry to the cave system.

The natural chimney, around 1.5 meters in diameter and at least 22 meters (72 feet) deep, was found to the north of the opening of the cave.

Update: The spelling of the Chiang Rai Governor's name has been updated to reflect the latest information from the province's Public Relations Department.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 161516

Reported Deaths: 3916
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10863104
Hinds10705207
Harrison7624114
Jackson6774131
Rankin6303114
Lee557798
Madison5311112
Forrest405587
Jones388589
Lauderdale3754149
Lafayette347358
Washington3421108
Lamar310350
Lowndes265168
Oktibbeha262763
Bolivar254686
Panola243754
Neshoba2333124
Marshall229451
Leflore216492
Monroe216278
Pontotoc213631
Lincoln203267
Sunflower198156
Warren189559
Tate187251
Union179626
Copiah176141
Pike170860
Pearl River168170
Itawamba166637
Scott166030
Yazoo164441
Alcorn161529
Coahoma160044
Prentiss159034
Simpson156954
Grenada149545
Adams148852
Leake146244
George138326
Covington137642
Holmes136861
Tippah135230
Winston134326
Hancock132842
Wayne127424
Attala126836
Marion126548
Tishomingo116444
Newton114929
Chickasaw112632
Tallahatchie101227
Clay98527
Clarke96954
Jasper90023
Stone85115
Calhoun82413
Montgomery80726
Walthall80430
Carroll78115
Lawrence76814
Smith76516
Yalobusha75728
Noxubee74817
Perry70127
Greene66023
Tunica64019
Amite61815
Jefferson Davis60818
Claiborne59716
Humphreys56119
Benton51018
Quitman5107
Kemper50019
Webster49514
Wilkinson42522
Jefferson39012
Franklin3866
Choctaw3757
Sharkey33517
Issaquena1254
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 264199

Reported Deaths: 3831
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson35310515
Mobile20626372
Madison14521153
Tuscaloosa13897173
Montgomery12844246
Shelby1127878
Baldwin9501138
Lee807167
Morgan740555
Etowah704870
Marshall695358
Calhoun6939126
Houston559140
DeKalb521843
Cullman490650
St. Clair466557
Limestone462446
Lauderdale452257
Elmore440070
Walker3914112
Talladega386157
Jackson373523
Colbert347948
Blount323146
Autauga294542
Franklin265534
Coffee260023
Dale247355
Dallas236832
Chilton235445
Covington234834
Russell23433
Escambia208832
Tallapoosa192692
Chambers189154
Clarke165422
Pike165215
Marion150236
Winston146325
Lawrence139936
Pickens129720
Geneva12929
Marengo127824
Bibb127038
Barbour121729
Butler121142
Cherokee108224
Randolph108022
Fayette102216
Hale102132
Clay95527
Washington94222
Henry9097
Monroe85311
Lowndes82930
Cleburne80914
Macon77522
Crenshaw73830
Lamar7348
Conecuh73215
Bullock71120
Perry7037
Wilcox65918
Sumter60122
Greene45818
Choctaw43620
Coosa3854
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 36°
Columbus
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 34°
Oxford
Clear
28° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 28°
Starkville
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 30°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather