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The rescue of the Thai football team is to take 'several weeks'. Here's how they'll get out.

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The rescue of the Thai football team is to take 'several weeks'. Here's how they'll get out.

The rescue of the Thai football team is to take 'several weeks'. Here's how they'll get out.
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Thai Navy Seal Facebook/Handout via REUTERS
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Even though the Thai youth football team has been found, their exit from the cave is not looking easy.

Their evacuation, which will have to be done in various steps, could potentially include diving through four kilometres of underwater cave galleries to get to safety.

First step: Re-energise the team so they can regain strength to escape

The priority now is to give the boys the necessary strength to get out of the cave. Medics have descended to assess their health status since they looked weak to the British divers who discovered them on an elevated rock where they took refuge.

A video taken by the Thai Navy showed the boys sitting or standing on the rock above an expanse of water.

The team was given energy gels to sustain them in the meantime. The coach and the kids were not able to eat anything for ten days and only drank the water around their rocky refuge.

Next step: Dive through four kilometres on subterranean galleries or wait for water levels to go down?

After having regained strength, a four-kilometre dive through the submerged galleries of the cave could await the youth football team.

Seal commander Rear Adm Arpakorn Yookongkaew told the media that having the boys dive out of the cave is one of the several options considered.

Appropriate diving equipment has already been provided but the lack of diving experience and the ongoing monsoon rains could make the trek difficult for the team. In the meantime, water is still being pumped out to ease the situation.

The other option the boys have is to wait until water levels subside.

"If it rains too much, water levels will rise and make getting them out harder," Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda told reporters.

The 12 kids and their 25-year-old coach got stuck in the cave, which they set out to explore after their practice on June 23. More food supplies have already been sent to the cave since rescue teams are not certain how long a safe exit could take.

"Helping the kids will take time," said Navy chief, Admiral Naris Pratoomsuwan, adding it took three hours to reach the place where the boys were found