Thailand soccer team

A soccer team and their coach were found alive on Monday after being trapped in a flooded cave for nine days without food in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

A Thai Navy seal dive team made contact with the boys and their coach after two British divers first found them alive in the underwater cave.

Thai officials say the 12 boys, ages 11-16, and their 25-year-old coach were exploring the network of caves as part of an “initiation” for the younger boys when they became trapped by a flash flood on June 23.

The boys and their coach were located inside an air pocket on a rock shelf about 2.5 miles from the mouth of the cave and about half a mile under water.

The boys and their coach are reportedly in good condition. They had one flashlight between them but the batteries died days ago.

A dirt path in Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park leads to the cave where the 12 boys and their coach went missing in the Doi Nang Non mountain range in northern Thailand.

Ben Reymenants told Sky News the boys were “wading in and trying to go to the end of the tunnel, sort of like an initiation for local young boys to. Write your name on the wall and make it back”, but they never made it back as the rising water cut off their escape route.

Relatives of the boys were overjoyed at the news that their loved ones had been found alive. One relative showed reporters a photo taken of the boys after they were found alive in the cave.

But their happiness turned to sorrow when they learned of the complications involved in the rescue attempt. Heavy rain is forecast for 3 days, making rescue efforts even more hazardous.

Heavy water pumping equipment is being used to pump water out of the cave day and night, but the water is too deep.

“I don’t see that they can get the water down enough so the boys can get out without having to dive,” said British diver Jonathan Volanthen, who along with his dive partner Rick Stanton first found the boys. The two men recorded grainy video of the boys.

Volanthen and Stanton are working with the Thai Navy team on rescue efforts.

The boys may have to learn how to scuba dive since the water is still too high for them to walk out. But some of the boys can’t swim.

They will need to learn to wear diving apparatus and swim out of the cave or they face living in the cave for four months until the water recedes. Food and water will be taken to them for the next four months, if necessary.

Thai officials are appealing for donations to buy full-face scuba diving equipment for the boys. A phone network is being installed so they can speak to their families.

Thai police say the soccer coach faces legal action for endangering the lives of the boys.

Scuba tanks are delivered to the site for Thai navy & SEAL divers to use in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Rescuers in northern Thailand are looking for alternative ways to bring the soccer team out of a flooded cave.

The navy rescue operation has grown to include dive teams and experts from the U.S., Great Britain, China, and other countries.

Photos by Linh Pham/Getty Images