Rescue mission resumes on ninth day, SEAL units closer to target area

Rescuers began their ninth day of search for the 12 missing young footballers and their coach this morning with the elite SEAL units attempting to make further advance toward the so-called Pattaya Beach inside Tham Luang cave where the boys are believed to be stranded.

Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn confirmed at a press conference this morning that the SEAL rescuers have already reached the fork in the cave known as Sam Yaek that leads to the target area, another 2 kilometers away.  The passage leading to Pattaya Beach is on the left of the fork but the governor said with enough personnel, the SEAL teams will also attempt to advance toward the right passage.

Even though authorities are focusing their attention on Pattaya Beach, they do not discount the possibility of the missing boys sheltering at some other known chambers inside the cave.  Other rescue units have been exploring other possible points of entry into the cave.

The latest news from the SEAL units this morning is probably the most encouraging sign for far for the eight-day-old search and rescue operation.

The SEAL units were able to establish a forward command at an area known as Chamber 3 yesterday but faced muddy flood waters and rough terrains that hampered their progress before they could reach the fork.

As more water pumps were brought in yesterday to drain out the flood waters and with better weather conditions yesterday and this morning, authorities are encouraged by receding water levels.

Experts and rescue units from at least seven countries are lending their hands to Thai authorities in the search and rescue mission.  It is believed to be the biggest international rescue operation of its kind to be conducted in Thailand.

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