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Summary

  1. The 12 boys and their coach were all found safe after nine days underground
  2. British divers who were the first to reach the boys tell them: "Many people are coming"
  3. It is thought they were trapped after heavy rain sent torrents of floodwater into the cave
  4. The Tham Luang Nang Non cave is the fourth longest in Thailand
  5. The search was complicated by rushing water and near darkness inside the cave

Live Reporting

By Alexandra Fouché, Victoria Bisset, Toby Luckhurst and Claudia Allen

All times stated are UK

Live coverage coming to an end

We're now wrapping up our live coverage of the Thai boys, who have been found after nine days trapped in the Tham Luang caves in Chiang Rai.

You can find all the latest updates on our main story here.

A summary of the key points:

  • The 12 boys and their coach were safely found in the cave after nine days
  • It is thought they were trapped after heavy rain sent torrents of floodwater into the cave
  • Two British cave divers were the first to find the boys, and reassured them that help was on the way
  • The authorities are now working on how to get the boys and their coach out

More on the British divers, Rick and John

The two British divers in the video - the first to speak to the boys - flew to Thailand last week to help with the rescue.

The BBC understands they are called Rick Stanton and John Volanthen.

You can read about the pair's other diving exploits here.

'We're coming, it's OK'

The voices of the English rescuers can be heard talking to the trapped children on the first footage from inside the cave.

The boys confirm that there are 13 people altogether.

One rescuer tells the group that they won't be rescued immediately, explaining that "there's only two of us, you have to dive."

But he reassures them: "We're coming, it's OK. Many people are coming, we are the first."

He informs the boys, who have lost all sense of time in the complete darkness, that they have been underground for 10 days, adding: "You're very strong."

The rescuer tells them to go to higher ground, saying he will give them light and that Navy Seals will arrive with food and a doctor on Tuesday.

The children appear to have maintained their curiosity, asking the diver where he is from.

Challenges ahead

A leading US cave rescue expert says many challenges lie ahead for the rescue divers whose job it is to get the boys out.

Anmar Mirza, co-ordinator of the US National Cave Rescue Commission, says they will have to decide whether to try to evacuate them or to bring them supplies in situ.

“Supplying them on site may face challenges depending on how difficult the dives are. Trying to take non-divers through a cave is one of the most dangerous situations possible, even if the dives are relatively easy,” he told the Associated Press news agency.

He says that “if the dives are difficult, then supply will be difficult, but the risk of trying to dive them out is also exponentially greater”.

There is also the problem of access to fresh water: "If they drink the water in the caves and it makes them sick, it could hasten the problem that they are in, but if they don't drink it, then they are also in trouble," he told AFP news agency.

'Tremendous efforts'

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha thanked the international experts and rescuers who helped locate the missing for their “tremendous efforts”.

"The Royal Thai Government and the Thai people are grateful for this support and co-operation, and we all wish the team a safe and speedy recovery," his office said in a statement.

First footage emerges

Thailand's Navy Seals have posted the first video of the Wild Boar team inside the cave.

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Challenges for the rescuers

The BBC's Jonathan Head describes the rescue as "a happy ending that had seemed increasingly hard to believe in".

He reports from Chiang Rai on the obstacles the rescuers will now face.

Thailand cave rescue: The challenge of getting the boys out

National attention

A monk lights a candle at an altar near the Tham Luang cave and a hermit performs a ritual
AFP

Thailand has been closely following the plight of the Wild Boar team, which led to an outpouring of support.

Hundreds of volunteers joined the military and police in the search operation.

Prayers and rituals took place for the missing group, with shamans and Buddhist monks praying and giving offerings at the cave imploring mountain "spirits" to return the boys safely.

Where the boys were found

And here's a map showing where the boys were found in the Tham Luang cave system

Map showing where Thai boys were found in the Tham Luang cave network
BBC

'Mission not over'

The BBC's Howard Johnson has more details about what the [elite navy] Seal unit that located the party has been up to.

Message from Thai Navy SEAL unit: Already found boar [football team]. But our mission is not over. Frog humans are… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

More joy online

Social media users are jubilant that the boys and their coach have been found, and are thanking rescuers.

But concerns remain about safely getting them out of the cave.

When the boys were missing the country turned to social media - you can read about the online messages of hope and support here.

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View more on twitter
View more on twitter

'I'm so glad'

Relatives react to the news

Family members celebrate while camping out near Than Luang cave following news all members of children"s football team and their coach were alive in the cave at Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province late July 2, 2018.
AFP
Family members celebrate the news that all in the team have been found alive

Overjoyed relatives gathered near the cave hugged and smiled as news of the rescue started filtering back to them.

"I'm so glad. I want to him to be physically and mentally fit," said Tinnakorn Boonpiem, whose 12-year-old son, Mongkol, is among the 13, AFP news agency reports.

"I found out from the television. I'm so happy I can't put it into words," another relative told reporters with tears of joy streaming down his cheeks.

Flooded 'beach'

Chiang Rai Province Governor Narongsak Osatanakorn delivered the good news to reporters:

"About the 13 missing persons: from the latest report from the [elite navy] Seal unit who went in and passed the junction - a moment ago, they managed to reach "Pattaya beach". Apparently, [the] beach is flooded. Then they went deeper - about 300 to 400m further, to higher ground. We found our younger brothers are safe."

Pattaya Beach is an elevated mound inside the cave which cavers have named that way. Rescuers thought it could have provided the boys with a refuge when rains flooded the cave.

Jubilation at the cave entrance

The BBC's Jonathan Head described scenes of jubilation at the cave entrance, and says the persistence of the divers has paid off.

While the governor of the province has described them as safe, the next problem is how to safely remove the boys and their coach from the cave - to get them the medical help and food they need.

The group aren't out yet but it's an uplifting breakthrough, after the Thai government did everything it could to try to save these boys' lives.

1,000 rescuers

More than 1,000 people have been involved in the rescue efforts, including workers from China, Myanmar (also known as Burma), Laos, Australia and the US, says Nopporn Wong-Anan from the BBC Thai service.

The governor of Chiang Rai province said he could not give details of what they were planning to do next, our reporter adds.

Search challenges

This map gives a good idea of the challenges faced by the rescue workers.

Search and rescue map
BBC

Divers, dogs and drones - the search effort in pictures

We put together a picture gallery of the search effort for the Thai boys and their coach.

Divers, water pumps, drones and sniffer dogs were all used in the search through the cave system.

You can see the gallery here.

Break in weather helped rescue

The governor of Chiang Rai province, Narongsak Osottanakorn, said divers used a brief period of good weather to push deeper into the cave, as pumping helped lower water levels.

The boys and their coach had pushed further down than initially hoped, the governor said. Divers had thought they would find the team on a ledge known as Pattaya Beach - named after the Thai resort - but that ledge was underwater.

Who are the group in the cave?

  • The 12 boys are members of the Moo Pa - or Wild Boar - football team.
  • Their 25-year-old assistant coach, Ekkapol Janthawong, is known to have occasionally taken them out on day trips - including a trip to the same cave two years ago.
  • The youngest member, Chanin "Titan" Wibrunrungrueang, is 11 - he started playing football aged seven.
  • Duangpet "Dom" Promtep, 13, is the team captain and said to be the motivator of the group.
  • The head coach Nopparat Kantawong, who did not join the group on their excursion, says he believes the boys "will take care of each other".

Rescue efforts

Watch earlier footage released by the Thai navy of rescuers trying to reach the group, who had been missing since 23 June.

The search had been hampered by low visibility and narrow tunnels.

Thai cave: Rescuers continue their search for missing boys

Desperate for news

Journalists swamped soldiers at the scene, desperate for more news about the boys:

Journalists try to talk to soldier at Thai cave complex
Reuters
Journalists try to talk to soldier at Thai cave complex
Reuters

'They are all safe'

Chiang Rai provincial governor Narongsak Osottanakorn broke the news on Monday.

They are all safe, but the mission is not completed. 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."

The governor said they would continue to drain the waters out of the cave while sending doctors and nurses to dive in to check the health of the boys and their coach.

If the doctors say their physical condition is strong enough to be moved, they will take them out from the cave. We will look after them until they can return to school."

'Found'

The BBC's Jonathan Head was one of the first to report that all 12 missing boys and their coach had been found alive.

Chiang Rai governor says all 13 missing in Thai cave have been found. He says they are safe.

How can you survive underground?

Last week we took a look at how a person can survive if they're trapped in a cave.

We spoke to cavers, who emphasised the need to keep warm and hydrated, and stay out of danger.

You can read the whole feature here.

'Whoops of joy'

The BBC's Howard Johnson in Thailand said he heard whoops of joy from within the hotel where he was staying.

He came down to find the staff celebrating the news. This has been all across the news here in Thailand, he adds, and it's great news for Thailand this evening.

Joy spreads on social media

The regional governor confirmed all 13 are safe, but the challenge remains to safely extract the whole group, with rising water and mud impeding access.

Social media users reacted joyfully to the news.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Thai cave boys found alive

Thai boys
Facebook/EKATOL

The Thai football team and their coach, missing for the last nine days, have been found alive in a cave.

We'll be keeping you up to date with all the latest developments.