The Latest: Expert: Many challenges ahead for Thai rescuers

Monday , July 02, 2018 - 10:06 AM

MAE SAI, Thailand (AP) — The Latest on the search for 12 boys and their soccer coach in a cave in northern Thailand (all times local):

11:50 p.m.

A leading American cave rescue expert says many challenges are ahead for rescue divers in Thailand who located the 12 boys and their soccer coach who had been missing in a cave for more than a week.

Anmar Mirza, the U.S. National Cave Rescue Commission coordinator, says the primary decision is now one of whether to try to evacuate them or to supply them in place.

He says “supplying them on site may face challenges depending on how difficult the dives are. Trying to take non-divers through a cave is one of the most dangerous situations possible, even if the dives are relatively easy.”

He says that “if the dives are difficult then supply will be difficult, but the risk of trying to dive them out is also exponentially greater.”

Rescuers located the boys, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach alive deep inside the partially flooded cave in northern Thailand late Monday. They disappeared when flooding trapped them after entering the cave on June 23.

11:40 p.m.

Thailand’s prime minister has thanked international experts and rescuers who helped find the 12 boys and their soccer coach who had been missing in a cave for more than a week.

The Prime Minister’s Office says Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha “wishes to thank the tremendous efforts of all international units that have come to assist the Thai authorities in rescuing the youth football team that was stuck in the caves in Chiang Rai. The Royal Thai Government and the Thai people are grateful for this support and cooperation, and we all wish the team a safe and speedy recovery.”

Rescuers located the boys, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach alive deep inside the partially flooded cave in northern Thailand late Monday. They disappeared when flooding trapped them after entering the cave on June 23.

11 p.m.

A Thai provincial governor says all 12 boys and their coach have been found alive in the cave where they went missing over a week ago in northern Thailand.

Chiang Rai Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn said late Monday that the 13 were being rescued.

He said, “We found them safe. But the operation isn’t over.”

The boys, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach went missing when flooding trapped them after entering the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai province on June 23.

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