Medics reach boys in Thai cave as rescuers plan next move

Water pumped out of Tham Luang cave has damaged nearly 14,000 rai of farmland in Mae Sai district Chiang Rai

Water pumped out of Tham Luang cave has damaged nearly 14,000 rai of farmland in Mae Sai district Chiang Rai

Found after more than a week of searching, they are mostly in stable medical condition and have received high-protein liquid food, officials said Tuesday.

Thai SEAL commander Rear Adm. Arpakorn Yookongkaew said Tuesday that seven members of his unit - including a doctor and a nurse - are now with the group of 13 people in the cave.

While news of their survival let family members breathe a sigh of relief, celebrations were cut short as rescuers realized extracting the team from the cave would prove more hard than originally imagined. "People have been watching it very closely, especially on Facebook and YouTube".

Rescuers at the entrance of the Tham Luang cave network on Monday. He assured reporters that rescuers "won't bring them out until we find a totally safe way", the Bangkok Post reported.

Anmar Mirza, the U.S. National Cave Rescue Commission coordinator, says the primary decision is now one of whether to try to evacuate them or to supply them in place.

"So they may end up being better off trying to supply them in cave until they can be gotten out by other means".

Could they be dug out?

Other teams are still scouring the mountainside in the hope of finding another way into the cave.

Rescuers found their bicycles, football boots and backpacks near the cave's opening, and spotted handprints and footprints further in - leading them to the spot they were eventually found.

But there is no indication that any of those chimneys connect to the chamber where the boys have been stranded. "Thirteen, brilliant!" the diver replies - the number accounts for the entire missing party.

On Saturday, it was announced six Australian Federal Police and Defence Force personnel had been deployed to Thailand to aid in the search and rescue.

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.

In the days following the boys' disappearance into the vast network of tunnels, rescuers had focused on reaching Pattaya Beach, on the assumption that boys and their coach would go there to escape rising flood waters.

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If the current break in bad weather sticks, this option could be more promising.

More monsoon rains are on the way.

He also said the group would likely be taken out one at a time, and they'd be "closely tethered" to a rescue diver on the trip. But experts have warned that this could take a long time.

Thai Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, said he was delighted with the news, according to Thai state media.

They ask how long they have been underground and whether they can leave now.

Having them dive out of the cave was one of several options being considered, "but if we are using this plan, we have to be certain that it will work and have to have a drill to make sure that it's 100 percent safe", he said.

The incredible footage from the moment the boys were found.

"We will prepare to send additional food to be sustained for at least four months and train all 13 to dive while continuing to drain the water", Thai Navy Captain Anand Surawan stated on Tuesday.

"How many of you?" a British voice asks as a flashlight scans the young boys huddled in a corner.

"But you know what I saw, I saw Thailand coming together", she added.

Even if they are physically fit enough to dive, they will need the mental prowess to stay calm in the murky waters and claustrophobic passageways that stand between them and freedom. "It will seem very bright when they come out into the sunshine".

Reymenants said rescue teams had to rely on a 30-year-old map made by French speleologists as they picked their way through the caves.

A first meal of rice and pork - packaged up in sealed portions - is being prepared for the youngsters, who have already been given energy gels and paracetamol.

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