Thailand’s navy has released a new video of the Thai youth football team that was found alive in a cave nine days after they went missing, as rescuers braced for a long and difficult evacuation of the 12 boys and their coach.
Footage posted on the Facebook page of the navy on Wednesday morning showed the team members who said they were healthy.
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The boys and their coach introduce themselves individually with the camera turning to show a Thai navy Seal with them. They smile at times and interact with the Seal, who asks questions.
Some appeared to be wearing a change of clothes since they were found late on Monday and most were wrapped in foil warming blankets.
The video lasting about a minute was recorded some time on Tuesday and was posted on the navy Seal Facebook page on Wednesday morning.
The group had entered the cave in northern Thailand on June 23 before flooding cut off the main entrance. Rescuers are studying how to extract them safely.
Pictures also showed a navy Seal treating minor cuts on the feet and legs of the boys. A number of boys are seen smiling. Other boys are seen sleeping under blankets.
The Thai official overseeing the rescue operation said the boys have been practising wearing diving masks and breathing.
Officials have said that teaching the 12 boys and their coach to dive may be the only way to get them out of the cave, but other options are being explored.
Chiang Rai provincial Gov Narongsak Osatanakorn said that while the team has been practising with masks, he does not believe they have attempted any practice dives.
It is unknown when an extraction could be attempted, but it is unlikely to be on Wednesday, he said, adding that any extraction has to be "100 per cent safe”.
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Much-needed food and medical supplies – including high-calorie gels and paracetamol – reached them on Tuesday as rescuers prepared for a prolonged extraction operation.
The Thai military said it is providing months' worth of food and diving lessons to the boys to help them out of the waterlogged Tham Luang network in the country's monsoon-drenched north.
"[We will] prepare to send additional food to be sustained for at least four months and train all 13 to dive while continuing to drain the water," Navy Captain Anand Surawan said.