The schoolboys trapped in an underground cave in Thailand appear in good spirits as they chat to a navy diver in new footage of their rescue.
The Thai Navy SEAL posted a new video on Facebook on Wednesday, saying the boys, aged 11 to 16, ate a power meal inside the cave and had a medical checkup.
The youngsters are seen identifying themselves and sending their greetings to their family members and the public.
The 12 boys and their football coach were found alive at the bottom of the cave on Monday, following a nine-day ordeal.
The group will have to bear their ordeal for longer as they learn to dive so rescuers can bring them safely to the surface.
Seven members of the Thai Navy SEAL team are staying with the trapped boys, according to the SEAL commander.
The boys and their 25-year-old coach, disappeared after going on a hiking trip in the cave shortly before it was hit by flash-flooding, leaving them trapped underground.
Nearly 900 soldiers and emergency personnel, including elite military divers and British rescue workers, were called in to find the children.
The boys appeared nervous and frightened as they are discovered by the rescue team.
A video shot by rescuers in flickering torchlight revealed boys clad in shorts and red and blue shirts sitting or standing on the rock above an expanse of water .
How many of you are there – 13? Brilliant, a British diver tells the youngsters. You have been here 10 days. You are very strong.
Thank you, one of the boys says.
One of the boys asks when they will get out of the cave, to which the rescuer answers Not today. You have to dive.
Two British divers, John Volanthen and Rick Stanton, were first to reach the boys, having had strong experience in cave rescues, according to Bill Whitehouse, the vice chairman of the British Cave Rescue Council (BCRC).
They found the group along with a team of Thai navy SEAL divers.
Rescuers had been focusing on an elevated mound, which cavers have named Pattaya Beach, in the cave complex’s third chamber, knowing that it could have provided the boys with a refuge when rains flooded the cave.
The SEALs reported that … they reached Pattaya Beach which was flooded. So they went 400 metres further where we found the 13 … who were safe, Narongsak told the cheering group of reporters.
Rescuers now have to decide how best to get the group out in their weakened condition. They have been given energy gels to sustain them while a plan is worked out to bring them to safety.
Options considered included waiting until water levels subsided, or teaching the group to use diving gear to navigate the flooded cave.
If you ask me now while we are still assessing all sides then I don’t think they will be home soon, Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters.
The group’s health was assessed overnight by medical teams which will continue to check the health of the group on Monday, said Narongsak, explaining that the boys had sustained light injuries.
We categorized their health condition as red, yellow or green, red being the most severe injuries, yellow being mild and green being light. Yesterday, unofficially, we assessed that most are in the green category, said Narongsak.
Narongsak said rescue workers would now focus on the rescue phase and then a handover to medical teams waiting outside the cave.
The children vanished with their coach a week ago on Saturday.
They are Chanin Wiboonroongrueng, 11, Duangphet Promthep, age unknown, Phornchid Kamluang, 16, Prachuck Sutham, 14, Somphong Jaiwong, 13, Peerapat Sompiengjai, 16, Ekkarat Wongsookchan, 14, Panumart Saengdee, age unknown, Pipat Phothai, 15, Nattawoot Thakamsai, 14, Adul Samon, 14, Mongkol Boonpium, 13, and coack Ekkapol Chantawong, 25.
The youngsters, from the Wild Boars football team, were later seen with beaming smiles in photos taken by military divers who found them.
The rescue workers can also be seen cheering and relatives even held a mass prayer session after hearing the good news.
The rescue mission began when the boys’ bikes and football boots were found at the mouth of the caves.
The boys were trapped by rising waters inside the cave network deep inside a mountain.
Thai Navy seals have found all 13 with signs of life, regional governor Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters.
For around half a mile, the cave is wide open with spectacular limestone rock formations.
But deeper in, the the network narrows and signs warn visitors not to venture further during the rainy season, which usually begins in July, because it is prone to flooding.
A national park ranger alerted authorities when he found their footwear and bikes near the entrance to the cave, but no sign of the children.
Thai Navy Seals experts swam three miles into the cave network looking for the children before finding them through a previously murky and inaccessible cavern.
A Royal Thai Navy commander overseeing the search previously said he was hopeful the 12 boys and their 25-year-old coach would be rescued.
I believe they’re all still alive but they might be exhausted… we should get good news, Rear Admiral Arparkorn Yookongkaew previously told Reuters.
The search effort, which involved helicopters and drones, was initially hampered by heavy rainfall, while oxygen levels inside the cave reached dangerously low levels.
The team went down to a depth of 5 metres (16 feet) and found a large chamber… but we’ve found no trace of the children, the Thai Navy said on its Facebook page after the first day of the search proved fruitless.
News Source MirrorNews