"They are all safe but the mission is not completed", Narongsak Osottanakorn, Chiang Rai governor, explained to the media. A pair of British divers assisting the Thai SEALs found them some 1,300 feet further into the complex after discovering Pattaya was also flooded. "But the operation isn't over", he said in comments broadcast across Thailand.
Outside the cave system, there were exhausted but jubilant scenes on Monday night. families - many of whom have maintained a constant vigil since the team went missing - could be seen cheering the good news on a live feed from the Facebook page of the Chiang Rai provincial Public Relations Department.
Aisha Wiboonrungrueng, the mother of one of the boys, smiled and hugged family members.
The children, who are aged between 11 and 16, had become trapped in the Tham Luang caves in Chiang Rai after heavy rain triggered a flash flood that prevented them escaping through a narrow tunnel.
A light illuminates members of the soccer team found alive in a cave in Thailand as rescue workers locate the missing boys and their coach, July 2, 2018 in Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park, Thailand.
The harrowing task of getting the boys out is complicated by the fact that they are in a weak state and are not experienced divers. They are clad in the uniforms they apparently were wearing on the morning they disappeared in the cave.
He said that upon rescue, the boys would at first not be able to move their limbs, adding that medical teams would be able to treat them in place.
One of the boys asks when they will get out of the cave, to which the rescuer answers: "Not today". "You are very strong".
Rescuers said they believed the boys could stay alive by drinking fresh water in the cave, either dripping in through rocks or rushing in through the entrance.
"How many of you?" a British voice asks as a flashlight scans the young boys huddled in a corner.
"Supplying them on site may face challenges depending on how hard the dives are".
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There were two main rescue options - getting them out via scuba diving, which was the current preferred method, or drilling into the cave to either bring the team out or drain water from the cave. Trying to dive the children out is the most unsafe but also the fastest.
He added: "If the dives are hard then supply will be hard, but the risk of trying to dive them out is also exponentially greater".
Thailand's prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has thanked the worldwide experts who assisted in the search.
"The Royal Thai Government and the Thai people are grateful for this support and cooperation, and we all wish the team a safe and speedy recovery", Prayuth's office said in a statement.
The worldwide rescue operation - which includes the Thai Navy SEALs as well as experts from the US, China, Australia and the United Kingdom - had been working to reach a large, deep chamber, informally named Pattaya Beach, where they believed the missing boys had taken refuge.
The passageways that lead to the group are extremely narrow, making it hard for divers and their gear to fit through.
Divers have been stymied repeatedly by rising water that forced them to withdraw for safety reasons. When water levels fell Sunday, the divers went forward with a more methodical approach, deploying a rope line and extra oxygen supplies along the way.
In addition to the divers, teams have been working to pump out water as well as divert groundwater.
He said other efforts will continue, such as draining water from the cave and exploring the mountainside for shafts and other entrances to the caverns below.
Experts in cave rescues from around the world continued to gather at the site.
He says "supplying them on site may face challenges depending on how hard the dives are".