Bangkok, June 27 (IANS) Rescue crews continued on Wednesday a search for 12 children from a soccer team and its coach who got lost inside a cave during the weekend in northern Thailand, officials said.
Bicycles, footwear and other belongings of the missing were found at the Tham Luang cave entrance, which is 10 km long and is partially inundated due to the rainy season prevailing in the region, Efe news reported.
Spokesperson of the emergency teams, Ruetaiwan Patisen, said they still hoped to find the group alive in the cave, located in the northern province of Chiang Rai.
Ruetaiwan said they were using 20 pumps to reduce the water level in the flooded parts of the cave, where they were yet to locate the 12 boys — aged between 11 and 16, members of a local soccer team — and their 25-year-old coach.
The spokesperson said that the flooding possibly left them trapped and prevented them from getting out.
Around 1,300 troops including policemen, emergency teams, divers and elite teams of the Army were involved in the search operations.
On Saturday afternoon, officers from the Tham Luang Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park, where the cave is located, raised the alarm after finding the belongings of the group and entering about three kilometres inside the cave during an initial search operation.
They then called the authorities for further help.