More than a week after their disappearance, 12 boys and their coach were rescued from a cave in Thailand on Monday in the final development of a rescue mission that has gripped the entire country—and the world—amid the World Cup matches.
Chiang Rai provincial Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn confirmed that all 13 of the missing people were found alive. Their conditions are not yet known.
“We found all 13 safe,” Osatanakorn said, according to CBS News. “We will take care of them until they can move.”
On June 23, the boys and their coach went to explore a cave in northern Thailand after soccer practice. When they got stuck, members of the Thai Navy and Air Force were called in to locate them in the cave system.
The group’s bikes were found abandoned near the cave’s entrance. Heavy rains sent a significant amount a water into the Tham Luang Nang Non cave, trapping them.
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.
“In theory, human beings can last 30 days (without food),” Narongsak told reporters on Monday before the rescue was completed, CBS reported. “We hope and believe that is the case. We all still have hope.”
He said that upon rescue, the boys would at first not be able to move their limbs, adding that medical teams would be able to treat them in place. The team of rescue divers includes doctors.
Narongsak told the Bangkok Post that rescuers had reached the “Sam Yak” three-way junction of the cave. “The [Navy SEAL] unit last night reached the T-junction and today they will press ahead to the left, but one obstacle we’ve found is a very small hole which we need to widen so that people can go through,” the governor said Monday.
“This is today’s focus. The passage must be penetrated. It is very narrow. … They have not yet reached ‘the (Pattaya) beach,'” Narongsak said.
In all, 230 policemen, 840 soldiers, and dozens of rescuers from other countries took part in the effort, the Post reported.