The cave-trapped boys and their football coach when they are found (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Bangkok (VNA) - Governor of Thai Chiang Rai province Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters on July 3 that it will take time to get the cave-trapped boys and their football coach out as the team are exhausted and the cave is deeply submerged.

Rescuers found the 12 boys aged 11 to 16 and their 25-year-old coach at higher ground about 400m away from the first predicted location after their nine days trapped inside Tham Luang cave.

The Governor said they are all safe, but the rescue mission is not completed and there are still challenges ahead in bringing them out of the flooded cave in Mae Sai district.

He said the boys are exhausted given the fact that they were there without food and water for almost 10 days, adding that 16 Thai Navy SEAL divers have been sent to the location to stay with the boys, to keep tabs on their health and prepare them for evacuation. The divers took some special food such as power gel and water for them.

Governor Narongsak says the process to prepare the boys for evacuation will take a few days and the best way is still being considered. Meanwhile, other efforts to access the cave, such as drilling through the cave roof, and finding alternative passages, as well as draining water out of the cave, will continue.

The governor thanked both Thai and international volunteers for their dedication in the operation, appreciating personnel and equipment support by the US, the UK, China, Russia, Belgium, Japan, Laos and Israel.

Meanwhile, the Thai armed forces said to get out of the cave, the boys will have to cross some sections submerged under 5m of water.

According to a statement from the forces, one option is to provide food and diving training to all the 13 people so that they can move out. The process may take up to four months.

Located in the Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park, Tham Luang cave is an adventure tourism destination in Thailand. It is often closed during the raining season from July to December. Visitors are allowed to enter maximum 700m deep into the cave.-VNA