Thailand officials hopeful 12 boys missing in cave are alive

Divers Search Flooded Cave In Thailand For 12 Missing Boys And Their Soccer Coach

The families of 12 missing boys and their soccer coach are nervously waiting for news of their children, as rescuers continue to search a partially flooded cave complex in northern Thailand where the group are thought to have been trapped since Saturday.

The young athletes - aged between 11 and 16 - and their 25-year-old coach are all from the Moo Paa Academy football club.

Officials said pouring rain caused parts of the cave to flood with at least five metres of water, but they believe the boys are still alive.

"We are preparing everything - water pumps in case the water is still high when we find them and food and drink", he said.

The boys' bicycles, backpacks and football boots still lay where were the boys entered the complex, next to a makeshift campsite where their parents now waited anxiously, reported the Bangkok Post.

Navy Lt Naponwath Homsai said the divers would enter the water after they reach a chamber further inside that was flooded nearly to its ceiling on Monday.

At a prayer session on Monday evening, some of the relatives walked inside the cave entrance.

This morning navy divers joined rescue teams as they make their way through the chambers of the Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex.

One of their mothers raised the alarm when her son failed to return home.

Lt Naponwath said on Monday that other shoes and bags belonging to the group had been left in a cave chamber.

Overnight, electricians installed a power line 1 km (.6 mi) into the cave to support the divers with electric lights and fans Tuesday.

Search efforts for members of a youth football team believed to be trapped in a cave in northern Thailand are being hampered by rising water levels. One woman called: "My son, come on out!" Another kneeled down near the bicycles and prayed, asking "Where is my child?"

Namhom Boonpiam, whose 13-year-old son Mongkol is missing, said she had been waiting at the entrance since Saturday night.

"We are surveying the areas around the mountain and will try to find another exit or entrance", Chiang Rai provincial governor Narongsak Osottanakorn told AFP.

"I can't concentrate at school knowing they are in there, so I came here", said Sonpong Kantawong, 14, who missed the trip because his mother drove to pick him up after soccer practice, media said.

"My son is a strong boy".

Despite heavy rain and rising water, officials hope there are still safe spaces within the cave.

"We're confident that the kids should still be in good condition", he said, noting that rescuers had seen nothing inside the cave to indicate otherwise.

Getting deeper into the cave has required lots of oxygen and special diving skills, which would also complicate rescue efforts once the boys are found, Passakorn said. According to a guidebook on the region's caves, Tham Luang Nang Non is only passable between November and June due to flooding during Thailand's rainy season.

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