International teams join rescue efforts for 13 lost in Thailand cave

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Two British cave-divers (2nd and 3rd-L) with Thai army soldiers and local rescue personnel are seen searching for new openings in the mountain of Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in Chiang Rai province on June 28, 2018 during rescue operation for a missing children’s football team and their coach in Tham Luang cave. (AFP PHOTO / THAI NEWS PIX / Krit PHROMSAKLA NA SAKOLNAKORN)

Thai officials have entered day 7 of the search for 12 boys and their soccer coach who are trapped inside a cave. Several international teams have joined rescue efforts, with more on the way. Hope is beginning to fade as the week winds up with no signs of life.

CGTN’s Tony Cheng reports.

British cave-diving experts returned from an initial exploration of Tham Luang cave on Friday. Access to the cave has been limited in recent days after heavy rain. Support for the Thai rescue teams is also coming from U.S. soldiers, who bring vital skills and equipment. Chinese cave-diving experts will also join rescue efforts.

This handout photo taken on June 28, 2018 and released by the Royal Thai Navy SEAL on June 29, 2018 shows a team of Royal Thai Navy SEAL divers inspecting the water-filled tunnel in the Tham Luang cave during a rescue operation for the missing children’s football team and their coach in Chiang Rai province. (AFP PHOTO / ROYAL THAI NAVY SEAL)

British cave-diver Robert Charles Harper explores an opening in the mountain during rescue operation for a missing children’s football team and their coach in Tham Luang cave, Chiang Rai province on June 29, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / THAI NEWS PIX / Krit PHROMSAKLA NA SAKOLNAKORN)

Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha also came to lend his support. There has been criticism that rescue efforts have been badly coordinated, and requests for overseas help came too late. Prime Minister Chan-ocha tried to bring unity to the teams, who’s spirits have noticeably flagged in recent days.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha speaks to an audience at Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in Chiang Rai province on June 29, 2018 during an inspection of rescue operation on the missing children and their coach in Tham Luang cave while military officials looks on. (AFP PHOTO / Lillian SUWANRUMPHA)

“I think we will succeed. We will succeed because we have faith. Everyone should keep their heads cool, advising one another, helping one another, and talking to one another on things that are helpful. If there are any shortcomings, we have to tell the governor,” the prime minister said.

The pumps were briefly turned back on, clearing water that had pushed the search teams back for the last three days. However, several rescuers were electrocuted, stopping the pumping for the day.  Meanwhile, police drones searched the cliffs and thick foliage for access points that could open up to the cave system below.

Flood water fills the entrance to a cave hindering the search efforts for 12 boys and their soccer coach who went missing in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province in northern Thailand, Friday, June 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Rescue personnel arrange large hoses and additional water pumps to continue a search operation for a young soccer team and their coach in a large flooded cave, Thursday, June 28, 2018, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand.  (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

The greatest obstacle to the relief effort is the groundwater. Drills are attempted to bore through and release it. Bur for all the rescue teams’ efforts, there have still been no signs of life. It’s now seven days since the boys disappeared, and all that’s been found are some backpacks and shoes.

Thai rescue personnel prepare drilling equipment at Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in Chiang Rai province on June 28, 2018 during rescue operation for a missing children’s football team and their coach in Tham Luang cave.(AFP PHOTO / LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA)

Climbers are exploring the surrounding mountains as divers try to move through the caves with the help of experts from overseas. Thailand officials have vowed not to give up the search, but at this stage, it looks like what’s really needed is a miracle.

Thai soldiers searching for the missing children and their coach march out of the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand on Friday, June 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)