Authorities search for football team trapped in Thai cave

Relatives have been nervously waiting for news at the scene

Relatives have been nervously waiting for news at the scene

However, rescue team members who entered the cave found footwear thought to belong to the young footballers of The Ban Phong Pha team, which is known in the area as "Moo Pa" (wild pig).

They've been there since Saturday, according to officials, and had yet to be located as of Monday afternoon.

One of their mothers raised the alarm when her son did not return from football training that evening.

The children aged between 11 and 16 entered Tham Luang cave, in a national park near the Myanmar and Laos borders, with their coach on Saturday.

Park officials traveled almost 2 miles into the cave system to find the boys initially, before having to stop due to heavy rain, according to Bangkok Post.

"We think they are in this part of the cave, which continues for another 3km", said Pasakorn Boonyalug. Officials believed they and their 25-year-old coach may have been cut off by rising flood water in a curved section of the cave about three kilometres from the main entrance.

Navy SEAL divers were trying to reach a large chamber deep inside the cave complex where officials thought the students might be.

"Right now, our family is hoping that the children trapped inside will have formed a group and are safe and waiting for officials to go in and save them in time", he said.

The 12 soccer players and their coach have been missing since Saturday. "That's what I'm hoping", the father of one of the boys told Thai PBS.

Thai television showed footage of bikes and backpacks left at the cave entrance.

The area was filled with soldiers and rescue personnel. "I believe they're all still alive but they might be exhausted. we should get good news today", Rear Admiral Arparkorn Yookongkaew told Reuters.

Kamolchai Kotcha, an official at the forest park where the cave is located, said Monday morning that attempts to reach a large chamber about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from the entrance of the cave had failed as the passage is extremely small, "flooded and covered with sand and mud".

Local media reported that the team is believed to have entered the cave after a practice session, before a flash flood trapped them in the rock structure as rising waters blocked their exit.

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