Rescue teams in Thailand have located a group missing in a flooded cave, according to a local governor.
A Thai youth football team of 12 teenaged boys and their 25-year-old coach were “found safe” late Monday deep in a cave in northern Thailand nine days after they went missing, a provincial governor told reporters.
“We found all 13 safe… we will take care of them until they can move,” Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osottanakorn said.
The massive rescue effort had been hampered by heavy rains that flooded the Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand, blocking access to chambers.
Divers took advantage of a brief window of good weather on Monday to edge further into the cave, with the water levels dropping slowly but steadily every hour thanks to round-the-clock water pumping.
Friends and teachers of the “Wild Boar” football team refused to give up hope of seeing the young players again.
Tilek Jana, whose friend Prajak is among the missing, said he was eagerly awaiting his return.
“Let him come and let’s play (football) together, I miss him,” he told AFP.
The principal of Mae Sai Prasitsart school, which is attended by six of the missing boys, said it had been a painful week.
“We chant and pray and send our support to them to give them power to wait for help to arrive,” Kanet Pongsuwan told AFP.