Twelve members of a boys’ football team and their coach have been found alive after nine days trapped in a cave in Thailand.
Relatives who had for days been gathered outside the cave eagerly waiting for news cheered as they heard the group had been found by British rescue divers in the Tham Luang cave complex.
The children, who are aged between 11 and 16, had become trapped in the caves in Chiang Rai after heavy rain triggered a flash flood that prevented them escaping through a narrow tunnel.
After an internationally coordinated rescue effort, the Thai Navy SEAL special forces posted a video to Facebook that shows the moment the boys were found.
Thousands of people have also used social media to celebrate with a hashtag that simply says: “13 Survived”.
It is believed that two English divers found the children, which appeared to be confirmed by the video, in which a diver asks: “How many of you?”
A reply comes: “Thirteen.”
The video then details questions asked by the boys, including when they will be rescued.
“Not today. There’s two of us. We have to dive. We are coming. OK? Many people are coming. We are the first,” the rescuers reply.
Having been underground for so long, it appears that the group were confused as to what day it was. After a muffled conversation, the divers tell them: “Monday, Monday. You have been here… 10 days. You are very strong.”
Although they have had no shortage of water, one of the boys is heard to say: “Eat, eat, eat, tell them we are hungry.”
“They are all safe but the mission is not completed,” Narongsak Osottanakorn, Chiang Rai governor, explained to the media.
“Our mission is to search, rescue and return. So far we just found them. Next mission is to bring them out from the cave and send them home.”
While the aim is to take the boys out of the cave, that depends on the ability of the rescuers to pump water out of the cave and also the health of the children and coach.
The military said rescuers are currently working to bring more supplies to them and they may need to have food sent in for at least the next four months.