MAE SAI, Thailand (CBS NEWS) — Rescue divers on Monday found 12 boys and their soccer coach alive in a cave after they went missing more than a week earlier in northern Thailand. The rescue teams spent much of Monday making preparations for what was hoped would be the final push in their search for team. It was, and hours later Chiang Rai provincial Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn confirmed that all of the 13 missing individuals had been found alive.
The divers had concentrated on securing a rope line and placing oxygen tanks along the narrow passageway that led them to the boys, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach, who disappeared when flooding trapped them after entering the Tham Luang Nang Non cave on June 23.READ MORE: I-Team: Bank Of America And Zelle Customers Targeted In New High-Tech Scam
Thai navy SEAL divers and rescue workers from other countries made initial progress through the narrow passageway early Monday after passing through a key chamber on Sunday whose high, murky waters had previously blocked their progress.
Narongsak said the passageway the divers were making their way through goes upward in some places and downward in others and is extremely narrow, which made it difficult for divers with all their gear to fit through.READ MORE: Technology Helping Melissa ISD Retain School Bus Drivers During Nationwide Shortage
Divers were stymied again and again by muddy water rising filing sections of the cave and forcing them to withdraw for safety reasons. When water levels dropped Sunday, the divers went forward with a more methodical approach, deploying a rope line and extra oxygen supplies along the way.
The SEALs’ Facebook page said that since Sunday night, the divers had reached a bend where the half-mile-long passage splits in two directions. The divers are aiming for a sandy chamber on higher ground in the cave, where they believe the group would be safe.
On Monday, they again employed the methodical, safety-first approach to make it through the passageway.MORE NEWS: Parents Share Safety Concerns At Mansfield ISD Town Hall On Campus Security Following School Shooting