Bangkok: Rescuers in Thailand on Sunday began a hazardous operation to lead 12 boys and one adult out of a cave where they have been trapped for two weeks.
The group are stranded on a ledge 4km inside the Tham Luang cave but amid fears of rising waters, officials have decided they cannot wait any longer. Expert divers who have been keeping the group supplied since they were found last week will guide them out.
Officials have called it D-Day, saying the boys are fit and ready to move. A huge volunteer and media operation has built up around the mouth of the cave over the past week.
But early on Sunday, journalists were told they had to move down the road, sparking speculation that a rescue mission was about to begin. Narongsak Osottanakorn, who has been leading the operation, then confirmed that 18 divers had gone in to get the boys.
This is D-Day, he said. "The boys are ready to face any challenges. He added that the boys had all been assessed by a doctor and were "very fit physically and mentally… They are determined and focused. The group and their families had all given their agreement that they should be moved as soon as possible, he said.