A soccer team and their coach went missing after flood waters trapped them inside a remote cave on June 23. The disappearance of the 12 boys, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach prompted a massive recovery effort with international rescue groups coming to the area to aid in the search. Two British divers located the team.
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All 13 missing individuals were found alive after spending nine days in a remote Tham Luang cave system in Thailand. They became trapped after flood waters entered the caves, cutting off any means of escape.
When they were discovered, the boys and coach, all part of the Moo Pa, or Wild Boar, team, were found seated together with their baggy soccer jerseys pulled over their knees for warmth. The British divers urged the team to stay calm.
According to a report by the Daily Mail, one of the British divers can be heard saying, “Many, many people are coming… we are the first.”
Narongsak Osottanakorn, the Chang Rai governor, spoke with reporters stating that Thai Navy SEALs had found the group but that the “operation wasn’t over.”
“We will bring food to them and a doctor who can dive,” he added. “I am not sure they can eat as they have not eaten for a while.”
Family members rejoiced as news of the rescue spread.
Aisha Wiboonrungrueng, the mother of one of the boy 11-year-old Chanin Wiboonrungrueng, one of the boys who went missing, said that she would cook her son his favorite meal after his return home, a Thai fried omelet.
Initially, rescue teams struggled to navigate the cave as rising waters filled sections, and narrow pathways were challenging to enter with diving gear. Many were forced to withdrawal for safety reasons.
On Sunday, the water began to recede, allowing rope lines and extra oxygen to be integrated into their search efforts. They also used water pumps to help clear areas and diverted groundwater to prevent more from entering the cave during the rescue.