Search and rescue efforts to find missing soccer team continue as anxious parents pray

Nearly three days after it began, a search and rescue mission has yet to retrieve 12 youth soccer players and their 25-year-old coach, believed trapped inside Luang Khun Nam Nang Non Cave in Chiang Rai province by floodwaters.

The 18 Thai Navy SEALS who arrived on the scene to take over rescue efforts early Monday morning, began their search — which is largely taking place underwater — at about 4am yesterday and announced a temporary cessation at 6pm due to what they described as dangerously high water levels as a result from the constant downpour in the area.

“We almost reached the chamber where we believe the boys are at, but the water rise [made it impossible for] us to go through the narrow passage to get to them. It would be very risky to continue at this time” said a Navy SEAL during an interview with Amarin TV  last night. He added that the team would have to remove their oxygen tanks in order to squeeze through.

Photo: Facebook/ Rungrot Kongpiban

At about 8:30pm yesterday, Chiang Rai Deputy Governor Passakorn Bunyalak told reporters at a press conference — his first since the kids were reported missing on Saturday afternoon — that he remained confident they are are still alive given the lack of evidence otherwise.

The SEAL team resumed their efforts at the crack of dawn today, according to their Facebook page, with local media adding that they are carrying food and oxygen supply for the children. Pumping efforts to remove flooded water from the cave, meanwhile, continued around the clock, Sanook reports.

A kilometer-long power line has also been placed in the cave to provide light and ventilation.

Though rain poured all night, parents have set up tents near the cave entrance where they are praying and anxiously waiting for the boys. Friends of the team —  dismissed from classes by their school — also arrived this morning to offer moral support.

Photo: Facebook/ Rungrot Kongpiban

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