Bangkok, July 8: Narongsak Osatanakorn, the acting governor of northern Thailand's Chiang Rai province on Sunday, July 8, said that it was the D-Day as 18 divers entered the complex cave system where a football team comprising 12 boys and their coach have been left stranded for more than two weeks now.
The team comprises 13 international and five Thai divers.
Officials said the level of preparedness of the rescue workers was at its peak and they were aiming to bring out the boys before the elements intervene again to make it challenging. Water levels inside the cave have dropped significantly and officials said the stranded team could be brought out walking.
Osatanakorn said the boys, aged between 11 and 16, were in "high spirits" and that their families gave consent to the evacuation plan once they were informed about it.
The team entered into the cave on June 23 and went missing as they got trapped inside because of sudden rain and the subsequent flooding. They were located by British divers on July 2 and since then, international help has poured in to rescue them against all odds.
Meanwhile, the death of an experienced Thai diver because of lack of oxygen while trying to reach air tanks to the stranded boys left the authorities alarmed over deteriorating oxygen levels. Although they were apprehensive about more rain making it difficult for the boys to be rescued, the dropping level of oxygen also made it urgent to save the lives trapped inside.