Rescuers In Thailand Still Blocked From Reaching Boys Trapped In Cave

"I confirm they are all safe", Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osatanakorn told reporters on Monday night.

He added: "We found them safe".

Australia's foreign affairs, defence and home affairs ministers said in a joint statement on Saturday that Australia was working closely with the Thai government and the Royal Thai Army, who are leading the search operation.

It's been nine days since the boys, aged 11 to 16, and their coach entered the cave for an afternoon outing, only to become stranded in the dark tunnels by a sudden and continuous downpour.

Australian Federal Police officers have arrived in Thailand to help search for boys from a youth football team who've been trapped in a cave in northern Thailand for more than a week.

They are taking food, electricity equipments and telephone wires as they are trying to set up an control center in a chamber about 3 km away from where the boys are believed to be, according to Narongsak Osottanakorn, governor of Chiang Rai province.

Thai rescue personnel at the Tham Luang cave as searches began. A break in the rain eased flooding in the system of caverns and more experts from around the world joined the rescue mission.

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Navy Seal divers are within the final 600 yards of where officials believe the trapped Thai soccer team took refuge in the Tham Luang cave that flooded after heavy rains and prevented the 12 boys and coach from leaving the caves outside "Pattaya Beach".

An official Australian group has followed a US military team, British cave experts, Chinese lifesaving responders and several other volunteer groups from various countries. Authorities have nevertheless expressed hope that the group has found a dry place within the cave to wait, and that they are still alive.

The forecast for the week from the Meteorological Department said Monday that weather could continue to be in a favor of rescue teams. A major search and rescue operation was launched to drain the cave and rescue them. Other options included teaching the group to use diving gear to navigate the flooded cave.

Pumping water out of the cave has not solved the problem, so other teams have been looking to divert groundwater.

Hopes were also high for finding some kind of access through fissures on the mountainside that might lead to shafts into the cave.

On Saturday, members of a police search team were lowered down a 50-metre shaft drilled from the surface to the cave, but it was unclear what progress they had made.

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