Rescuers clear hurdle in cave search for missing Thai boys

Rescue team members enter the Tham Luang cave on Sunday. The team got a break when the rains stopped and the pumps began making progress

Rescue team members enter the Tham Luang cave on Sunday. The team got a break when the rains stopped and the pumps began making progress

Video released early today by the Thai navy showed the boys in their soccer uniforms sitting on a dry area inside the cave above the water as a spotlight, apparently from a rescuer, illuminated their faces. The final attempts will involve the assistance of a Navy SEAL team, says Chiang Rai Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn.

But Arpakorn said even though the divers made some progress, they're not yet where they want to be.

Despite the peril ahead, families and friends, some of whom have maintained a constant vigil outside the cave, hugged each other and cheered at the news.

The boys-aged 11 to 16-and their 25-year-old minder may have to wait in the cave for as long as four months, the BBC reported, sustained by supplies brought in by military divers. So do not worry, we will take care of them with our best.

They disappeared when flooding trapped them after entering the Tham Luang Nang Non cave on June 23.

"It's unimaginable. I've been waiting for 10 days, I never imagined this day would come", the father of one of the boys said. The boys are in good condition because they are sporty. The boys can be heard thanking the divers in English.

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They ask how long they have been underground and whether they can leave now. "You have been here 10 days".

Rescuers are now working to pull the weakened team from the cave safely.

"If you ask me now while we are still assessing all sides then I don't think they will be home soon", Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters.

Anmar Mirza, a leading American cave rescue expert, said many challenges remain for the rescuers. They also were keen to get some food.

"Cave diving is a very technical skill and it's extremely unsafe, especially for an untrained diver", Anmar Mirza, coordinator of the U.S. National Cave Rescue Commission, told ABC News. Anmar Mirza, the U.S. National Cave Rescue Commission coordinator, said "Trying to take non-divers through a cave is one of the most risky situations possible, even if the dives are relatively easy".

Officials also said that they would continue pumping water out of the cave to make it easier for the rescuers to bring the missing people out of the cave as the weatherman had predicted that another wet spell beginning Wednesday could flood the cave once again.

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Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha thanked the global experts and rescuers who helped locate the missing for their "tremendous efforts".

Narongsak earlier said the passageway the divers made their way through goes upward in some places and downward in others and is extremely narrow, making it hard for divers with all their gear to fit through.

They were repeatedly blocked by rising water that has filled sections of the cave and forced them to withdraw for safety reasons. When water levels dropped Sunday, the divers went forward with a more methodical approach, deploying a rope line and extra oxygen supplies along the way.

Besides the protein drink, Narongsak said they were given painkillers and antibiotics, which doctors had advised as a precaution. The group was forced further and further into the labyrinth of tunnels in search of high ground. Attempts to pump water or find another exit have been unsuccessful.

Efforts to pump out floodwaters are continuing but it's clear that some areas of the sprawling cavern can not be drained, said Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda, a member of Thailand's ruling military junta.

Teams have been combing the mountainside looking for fissure that might lead to such shafts.

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But sticking it out until the weather improves "may not be an option" based on the porous rock type found inside the cave network, according to Tim Taylor, an experienced ocean explorer and expert on underwater robotics.

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