Many global teams are searching for a football team trapped for more than a week in a cave.
Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn said they were found in the area near the so-called Pattaya Beach and rescuers were planning late Monday night to get them out of the cave. Divers had reached the same spot earlier last week but were forced back by floodwater.
"I just feel like I have to do something".
The heavy seasonal rains hampered the search operation, with divers groping their way along the cave walls, barely able to see in the muddy water, but the pumps had helped to bring down water levels in recent days.
"Today is a bright day for me and our team".
"We found the 13 people, and they are all safe".
The entrance to the cave became flooded, with efforts shifted to finding other ways to access and reduce water in the cave, involving drilling through rock to drain water.
Outside the main entrance other searchers were trying to find a way into the cave through two separate chimneys, and rescue personnel conducted mock operations in case they should find the boys and need to rush them to hospital.
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But even without food he said young, athletic boys could "easily live for a month or a month and a half" with the main challenge their mental resolve.
The dramatic week-long rescue has galvanised the nation and prompted emotional outpourings online from well-wishers praying for their safe return.
Rescue divers had spent much of Monday making preparations for a final push to locate the lost soccer players, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach.
Australian specialists also headed for Thailand on Saturday to join the search.
A second, private Chinese group calling itself Green Boat Emergency arrived Saturday.
Monsoon rains had poured into the jungle in the north of the country as rescuers desperately tried to save the boys. The visibility was so poor that one rescuer described it as swimming through coffee.
But there was still no indication it linked to the main cave complex.
At Mae Sai Prasitsart school, where six of the missing boys studied, special prayers were held for the junior soccer team during the morning assembly on Monday.
That chamber was found flooded as well, but the divers pushed on and found the group 400 meters beyond that point.