Thailand cave rescue: Missing football team ‘could be trapped for months’

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Twelve boys and their football coach have been found alive in a cave in Thailand, but will need to regain their strength and learn to dive or cloud be trapped in the cave for months, the Thai army says.

The group were found by two British divers who had joined the large-scale search and rescue operation launched by Thai authorities to find the missing children.

The boys, aged 11 to 16, and their coach were found on a small dry ledge about 4km (2.5 miles) from the mouth of the cave late on Monday, and appear to be in relatively good health. However, they in a video posted on Facebook by Thai navy special forces, the boys looked skinny and complained of hunger after more than a week without food.

Rescuers are now trying to pump water out of the cave system in an effort to make accessing the group easier for medical staff and to provide the group with food and clean water. Other teams are searching above ground for another entry point to the cave system that may prove an easier route for entry and exit.

If they cannot pump sufficient water out of the cave within the next few days before further heavy rains, the military said the boys could be stuck for months before the waters would naturally subside and a clear path out of the cave system would reappear.

The search for the missing boys has gripped the Thai nation in recent days, with news of their discovery making headlines around the world. Families told reporters of their joy when they heard their sons had been found alive.

It is believed the boys had gone on a field trip to the caves with their coach, but torrential rain and rushing waters had clogged the passages within the cave system and prevented them from leaving.

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