January 23, 2019

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12 Boys, Missing in Flooded Thailand Cave, Are Found Alive

12 Boys, Missing in Flooded Thailand Cave, Are Found Alive
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MAE SAI, Thailand — Twelve boys and their soccer coach have been found alive nine days after they were trapped by rising floodwaters in a cave complex in northern Thailand, a provincial governor announced on Monday.

In an interview, the governor of Chiang Rai Province, Narongsak Osottanakorn, said that the boys and their coach were alive, but that he did not know their condition.

A medical team was providing treatment to the boys and their coach and assessing their condition to see when they could be moved out of the flooded cave complex.

“I assure you we found them,” Mr. Narongsak told reporters. “After we have the doctor assess their condition, they are going to give them treatment for them to be able to move. Then we are going to decide next how to move them.”

Divers reached the group after enlarging a narrow, submerged passageway that was too small for them to get through while wearing their air tanks.

Earlier, a team of rescuers had used huge pumps to reduce the water level, and divers had placed guide ropes and air tanks along the route to reach the site of the trapped boys.

Getting the boys and their coach out in their weakened condition, and without training as scuba divers, will be the next challenge.

The search for the boys, who range in age from 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach has riveted the nation, along with soccer fans around the world. The team disappeared on June 23.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun had said he was following events closely, helping to focus the attention of government officials.

Follow Richard C. Paddock on Twitter: @RCPaddock

Muktita Suhartono reported from Mae Sai, and Richard C. Paddock from Bangkok.

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