Risky for footballers to dive out of cave: U.S. expert

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Reports indicated that a team of rescuers used water pumps to reduce the water level inside the cave, allowing divers to place air tanks and guide ropes to search for the trapped team of boys, whose ages range from 11 to 16.

Thai officials say the twelve boys and their coach, who were found alive in a water-logged cave, are being supplied with four months' of food.

"They were smart to drink water in the cave", Sura told Reuters. Rescue divers are advancing in the main passageway inside the flooded cave in northern Thailand where the boys and their coach have been missing more than a week. The next challenge will be getting the group out of the cave. They were operating as part of a large worldwide effort to search the Tham Luang complex for the team, who went missing back on June 23.

The group has experience in lifesaving rescues in Myanmar and Nepal, the embassy's statement said.

"Let him come and let's play (football) together, I miss him", he told AFP.

Rescuers found all 12 boys and their soccer coach alive deep inside a partially flooded cave in northern Thailand late Monday, more than a week after they disappeared and touched off a desperate search that drew global help.

There were "complications and problems", said Whitehouse, "They were having to swim against the currents and pull themselves along the walls".

Divers from the Thai navy's elite SEAL unit were groping their way through the murky waters filling passages of the 10 km underground maze of the Tham Luang cave.

These are the first words between the Thai soccer team and the British dive team at the end of a unsafe and muddy mission to find them.

"Thank you", wrote one Twitter user, a reference to the comic book company that owns Captain America, Thor and other beloved characters.

Except for narrow holes, two divers would escort each of them.

The boys, aged between 11 and 16, and their 25-year-old coach disappeared on June 23 during an outing to the Tham Luang cave, which runs for 10 kilometres (6 miles) beneath the mountains in northern Chiang Rai province.

Sura Jeetwatee, a doctor who is part of the operations, said the boys were able to walk and had survived by staying where they were and drinking water that dripped from stalactite formations. A sign advising against entering the caves during the rainy season (July-November) is posted at the entrance.

So it's a miraculous relief the boys were found - but there's still a lot of work to do to actually extract and rescue them.

The rescuer tells them "you are very strong", but soon the traditional reserve of Thai children toward adults breaks a bit, and one tells another in Thai, "Tell them we are hungry".

He added: "If the dives are hard then supply will be hard, but the risk of trying to dive them out is also exponentially greater".

One option is to bring them out by diving it is the quickest but it's also the most unsafe.

Australian police and military personnel were deployed Saturday to join other multinational teams, including US military personnel and experts from a British cave exploration club.

"I think in truth even the families of the missing boys and their coach would say that this is astonishing news", said Holland.

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