Emergency responders are searching for a group of boys feared trapped in a flooded cave deep inside a mountain in Thailand, authorities said Monday.
Twelve boys belonging to an under-16 soccer team and their 20-year-old coach were believed to have been trapped by rising waters inside the Tham Luang caves when heavy rain hit the northern province of Chiang Rai, Reuters reported.
The group was reported missing Saturday.
The boys' bicycles and soccer boots were found at the mouth of the cave network, but no trace of the group has been found so far, officials said.
Members of a navy "SEAL" unit, including divers, were dispatched for search and rescue efforts.
"The team went down to a depth of five meters (16 feet) and found a large chamber," the navy unit said on Facebook.
But authorities remain hopeful that the search would end on a happy note.
"I believe they're all still alive but they might be exhausted ... we should get good news today," Rear Admiral Arparkorn Yookongkaew told Reuters.
Those who want to explore the caves are supposed to get permission from authorities, as Thailand is in the middle of its rainy season at which time caves can flood.