Entrance into the cave (Source: Thai News Pix)
 
Hanoi (VNA) - Thai authorities said on June 26 that they are still making every effort to find a missing teenage soccer team trapped in a cave complex, as concern for their safety increased after three days of search.

The 12 boys, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach, were trapped on June 23 after heavy rain flooded the cave in a forest park in the northern province of Chiang Rai.

Rescuers began the search on June 24 after the boys' bicycles and soccer boots were found at the mouth of the cave. A 17-member navy unit, including divers and underwater drones, has joined the search.

Authorities believed that the team entered the cave and was trapped after rainwater rose to the mouth of the cave.

Rescuers had covered about 6 km of the 10-km-long cave network but they had to halt their search efforts on June 25 night after the volume of oxygen inside the cave dropped to the low level.

The rescuers resumed their search on June 26 and authorities affirmed their resolve to find out the boys on the day.

Hundreds of people have been deployed for the search while relevant agencies announced a plan to use underwater robots to support the search.

The cave, cut into a mountainside near the border with Myanmar, can flood severely during the rainy season, which runs from June to October.

In "The Caves of Northern Thailand," an online guidebook updated this year, the cave is described as explorable only from November to June due to flooding. It says the cave is an easy walk at first, but farther inside, finding a route through the rock formations and narrow passages can be difficult.-VNA