There have been emotional scenes in Thailand this evening following the news that the 13 members of the Moo Pa youth football team have been found. At around 10.30pm local time, Thai officials announced that the group had been located deep inside Tham Luang cave and everybody was safe. The 12 boys and their football coach had been missing for ten days and hopes that they would be found alive were diminishing with each hour that passed. The group had been exploring the cave in Chiang Rai province when they were trapped inside by flash floods.
A huge search operation has been ongoing since the youngsters were reported missing, with local and international caving experts assisting Thai navy divers. There were joyful scenes outside the cave where families of the trapped boys had been desperatley waiting for news. The drama has gripped Thailand over the past week and the news has been greeted with an outpouring of relief and love on social media channels.
Although the boys and their coach are safe, medical staff will still need to assess them before the next stage of the rescue commences. With high water levels in the cave and more rain forecast, there is still a lot of work involved before the boys can be brought back to the surface. Speaking at a press conference tonight, the governor of Chiang Rai said, “They are all safe but the mission is not completed . . . Our mission is to search, rescue and return. So far we just found them. Next mission is to bring them out from the cave and send them home.”
Update: July 5
A Thai diver involved in the rescue mission has lost his life. Petty Officer Saman Gunan, a former member of the Royal Thai Navy, lost consciousness while on his way out of the cave after delivering air tanks.
All 13 members of the group have been safely rescued: