Divers with extra supplies advance in flooded cave passageway

Divers with extra supplies advance in flooded cave passageway

Divers with extra supplies advance in flooded cave passageway

The boys aged 11 to 16 and their coach went to explore the caves on 23 June.

Morris compared the tunnels to an "obstacle course", while Thai television has shown archive footage of jagged crannies that lead to "Pattaya Beach" - hard going in water and with bulky oxygen tanks for the divers.

"We found all 13 safe. we will take care of them until they can move", Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters, who broke into applause and cheering.

Rescue divers are advancing in the main passageway inside the flooded cave in northern Thailand where the boys and their coach have been missing more than a week.

It was the first words from the outside world the trapped group had heard since their ordeal began. Unable to see, divers felt their way forward through mud and stalactites, grasping around to find small entryways leading from one channel to another.

A video of the moment the missing group were found features the voices of two British men, believed to be Mr Stanton and Mr Volanthen.

Tired relatives have camped out at the cave's entrance for more than a week, desperately waiting for news of the boys, while the head of the Buddhist clergy has urged prayers from a nation fixated on the fate of the group. Rescuers shook hands and congratulated each other as occasional cheers broke out. They have sent food, but are waiting to pump out all the remaining water before they can actually remove the children and their coach from the cave system.

It remains unclear whether any of the group are injured or in need of medical attention. They clearly want to stabilize the boys before they try and bring them out.

"Supplying them on site may face challenges depending on how hard the dives are", Mr Mirza, co-ordinator of the US National Cave Rescue Commission.

"Trying to take non-divers through a cave is one of the most risky situations possible, even if the dives are relatively easy".

"Now the difficulty is getting them out because they are underground within this massive cave complex".

And following the boys' discovery, Thailand's prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha thanked the worldwide experts who had helped in the search.

He added: "We found them safe".

Outside the cave, overjoyed relatives who had clustered near the site in an increasingly desperate vigil hugged and smiled as news of the miracle rescue filtered back.

The global rescue operation - which includes the Thai Navy SEALs as well as experts from the US, China, Australia and the United Kingdom - had been working to reach a large, deep chamber, informally known as Pattaya Beach, where the missing boys were believed to have taken refuge. The rescue teams spent much of Monday making preparations for what was hoped would be the final push in their search for team.

"I think in truth even the families of the missing boys and their coach would say that this is astonishing news", said Holland.

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