Teen soccer team may be stuck in Thailand cave for months

Soldiers work outside Tham Luang while divers moved further inside the cave in Mae Sai district Chiang Rai on Sunday

They've been visited by a doctor and a nurse who accompanied five other divers, and they've been given high-protein liquid food, Thai navy SEAL commander Rear Adm. Arpakorn Yookongkaew said, according to the Associated Press.

Rescuers are now weighing up rescue options.

Divers finally found them huddled on a patch of dry land in one chamber, but getting them out remains a dilemma.

For now, all 13 are healthy and being looked after by the medics.

Faith and prayer, as well as humour were very important to the miners at times when they doubted they would be rescued, Reygadas said.

"If there are risks then we will not be extracting them".

The group is between 800 metres and 1km below the surface, and about 2km inside the cave.

Assistant government spokesman Colonel Athisit Chainuwat said the SEAL team was still with the boys and rescuers were trying to install lights, a power supply and get communications equipment to them.

Rescuers are closely watching the forecast, which calls for more rain over the weekend. Diving gear will be used.

In theory yes: but it is an extremely hard task. "We needed better cooperation". They are very weak though.

But Ben Reymenants, a Belgian diver who is part of the rescue team, said that a rescue operation must be mounted immediately to prevent the group from being cut off. They have muscle atrophy, they can barely stand up.

"They shouldn't be ashamed to be scared", he said of the boys.

"Thai officials were confused".

SEAL commander Rear Adm Arpakorn Yookongkaew noted that a team of seven SEAL divers are now with the soccer team, providing medical care.

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While efforts to pump out floodwaters are continuing, 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.

While the right shaft had not yet been found, diving through the cave passageways was not an easy way out.

None of them have experience in scuba diving let alone cave diving. "If the gear is lost at any moment, it can be unsafe to life". They have been joined by teams from seven countries, including the U.S.

Officials have said teaching the 12 boys and their coach to dive may be the only way to get them out of the cave, but other options were being explored.

Experts say divers have required three hours to reach the boys, located about 4 km (2.5 miles) from the mouth of the cave.

Right now they can't do anything at all. The team now face the choice of learning to dive in perilous conditions or waiting months for the waters to recede.

The trapped footballers have been given minerals, food, water, and lighting.

Divers found the group 300m to 400m past a section of the cave on higher ground that was thought to be where they might have taken shelter.

The decision about when and how any rescue attempt is made lies ultimately with the Thai military.

Two British divers, Rick Stanton and John Volanthen, came to Thailand last week. They entered the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system on Saturday, June 23 but became stranded in the dark tunnels by a sudden and continuous downpour.

The 12 boys trapped in the Thai cave.

A sign outside the entrance warns visitors not to enter during the rainy season from July to November. Tham Luang cave is one of Thailand's longest and toughest to navigate, with snaking chambers and narrow passageways.

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said of the boys' discovery that "everybody is a hero". Such storms could raise water levels in the cave again and complicate the supply missions or any potential extrication, if one was needed.

Their evacuation, which will have to be done in various steps, could potentially include diving through four kilometres of underwater cave galleries to get to safety.

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