Rescue teams found all 12 members of a football and their coach alive inside the flooded Thai cave on Monday as their search entered the ninth day.
The 13 victims from a local football club, Mu Pa Academy Mae Sai, had been stranded inside the Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai province since June 23 because of flash floods.
Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn confirmed late Monday evening that the boys and their coach had been found. He also said the rescue operations would continue non-stop until the football team members were safely transferred out of the cave and sent to hospitals.
Till the last reports came in, doctors with high diving skills were on their way to the spot where the victims had strayed into. Medical checkups will be needed to ascertain if the football team members can be moved out of the dark cave immediately. If not, they will receive first aids and food inside the cave first.
Victim transportation plans have already been drawn up.
The good news declared by Narongsak nine days after the team got stuck inside the caves received loud cheers on Monday.
On Sunday, rescue divers had managed to reach further inside the flooded Thai cave.
The divers from the Thai navy’s SEAL unit paved through murky waters filling passages of the 10-km underground maze of the Tham Luang cave, trying to set up a control centre in a chamber about 3 km away from where the team was believed to be.
The weather was clear in the last two days, allowing the rescuers to pick up the pace of work.
Australian and Chinese specialists also headed for Thailand on Saturday to join the search.
The 12 Thai boys, aged between 11 and 16, with their 25-year-old coach went missing on June 23 in the cave in Chiang Rai province.
(With agency inputs)