Thai Youth Soccer Team Found Alive, Hungry After 9 Days in Cave

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A boys football team and their coach who went missing in a cave in Thailand over a week ago have been found alive, officials said.

Worldwide experts from the United States, Australia, China and Britain have assisted in the search-and-rescue efforts.

A team of more than 30 United States military personnel from their Pacific Command, including pararescue and survival specialists, arrive at the site late Wednesday.

"I hope all the spirits that we can not see please help us by releasing the 13 people who are our friends and our brothers", teacher Takkapong Thammarangsi said as he led the prayers.

"In theory, human beings can last 30 days (without food)", Narongsak told reporters on Monday before the rescue was completed, CBS reported.

Family members of the missing hugged each other as they cheered the news of the discovery. "You have been here for 10 days, you are very strong". "Next mission is to bring them out from the cave and send them home".

"One of them told me that they can barely see their hand in front of their face".

The group repeatedly asks when they will be able to get out of the cave, and rescuers answer they are hoping for Tuesday.

The Tham Luang-Khun Nam Nang Non Cave complex is a popular tourist site, but often floods during the June-October rainy season.

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For ten days they have been struggling to survive, as rescue personnel from the Thai military, local officials, the USA military and foreign caving and topological experts all worked tirelessly to locate and reach the trapped soccer team (ages 11-16 and their coach, age 25).

Rescue workers carry heavy water pumping equipment into Tham Luang Nang Non cave, July 1, 2018 in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

The boys, who range in age from 11 to 16 years old and are part of the same soccer team, have been missing for nine days.

Rescue teams are now evaluating how best to get the boys out of the caves.

In a press conference, Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osottanakorn said they would continue to drain water out of the cave while sending doctors and nurses in to check the health of the boys and their coach.

"I feel I have just lost my heart when I found his bag, mobile phone and his shoes", said Sudsakorn Sutham, whose son, Prajak is among the 12 missing boys.

Narongsak said they located the missing boys about 300-400m past a section of the cave that was on higher ground and was thought to be where the team members and their coach may have taken shelter.

In addition to the divers, teams were working to pump out water as well as divert groundwater.

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