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Thailand cave search: Divers close in on missing soccer team

Chiang Rai, Thailand (CNN)Rescuers from China and Australia have joined the search for a youth soccer team missing in a Thai cave, as divers believe they're closing in on the spot where the group could be sheltering.

Chiang Rai, Thailand (CNN)Rescuers from China and Australia have joined the search for a youth soccer team missing in a Thai cave, as divers believe they're closing in on the spot where the group could be sheltering.

The international rescue operation -- which includes more than 1,000 people from Thai emergency services, alongside a US military contingent and British cave experts -- has been ramping up its efforts since the 12 boys and their 25-year-old soccer coach disappeared during an outing in the caves in northern Thailand on June 23.
Divers are now closing in on elevated dry area, called Pattaya Beach, where they believe the missing boys may have taken refuge in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system.
    The dry area is several kilometers from the entrance of the cave.
    Water from the flooded cave has receded in recent days, allowing rescue teams to gain ground, according to Chiang Rai provincial governor Narongsak Osatanakorn.
    Oxygen tanks have been installed at 25-meter junctures for divers to use, and a water pumping machine has also being deployed, added Osatanakorn.
    Heavy rains had previously hampered the rescue operation, as the caves became extremely dark and muddy.
    On Friday a team of six Chinese experts arrived at the site in Chiang Rai province, according to the Chinese Embassy in Thailand. The experts hail from the Beijing Peaceland Foundation, an organization with more than 100 rescue teams and experience carrying out similar operations in mountainous Myanmar and Nepal.
    On Saturday Australia also deployed a team of six experts from its national police's Specialist Response Group, according to the country's Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop. The group, which typically carries out land search and rescue operations, also has experience diving in flooded caves.For now, divers continue to work at the mouth of the cave, and drilling is underway at several points in the cave complex, primarily to relieve the flooding.
    Sources: CNN
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