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The Latest: Thai PM thanks international community for help

July 3, 2018

MAE SAI, Thailand (AP) — The Latest on the efforts to rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in northern Thailand (all times local):

6:05 p.m.

Thailand’s leader is thanking the international community for their support and assistance in the search and rescue operation for 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped in a flooded cave in northern Thailand.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha said Tuesday that finding the boys the night before “has created gratitude and happiness for people all over the country.”

He said: “I have to thank the International community in assisting us. This would not have been possible if we didn’t help each other. Everybody did their part.”

The boys were located by a team of British divers who worked closely with Thai navy SEALs and teams from around the world, including the U.S. military.

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4:15 p.m.

A top Thai official says heavy rains forecast for the coming days could worsen floods in a mountain cave, forcing authorities to speed up their extraction of the 12 boys and the soccer coach who are trapped there.

Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda said Tuesday that the boys may need to swim out using diving equipment ahead of the bad weather.

He said they plan to bring the boys out via the same complicated route through which their rescuers entered.

While efforts are to pump out the floodwaters continue, Anupong said it’s clear some area cannot be drained and in order to get out the boys may need to use diving gear while being guided by two professional divers each.

He conceded that if something went awry, it could be “life-threatening.”

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