Rescuers in Thailand are racing against time to get a youth soccer team out of the partially flooded cave where they have been trapped for more than a week as forecasters predict heavy rains in the coming days.
The 12 boys — ages 11 to 16 — and their 25-year-old coach were found Monday huddled on a ledge deep in the Tham Luang caves.
Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda said the team might have to be taught diving skills in order to get them out, but that might prove difficult since some of the boys can't swim.
"The evacuation must speed up," Anupong told the Bangkok Post. "Diving gear will be used. If the water rises, the task will be difficult. We must bring the kids out before then."
Meanwhile, authorities are continuing to try to pump water out of the cave but with more rains in the forecast, the children might need to use diving gear while being guided by professional divers, he said.
WATCH: Cave rescue
?The boys and their coach are said to be in weakened condition. They are being looked after by seven members of the Thai navy SEALs, including medics, who were staying with them in the cave.
SEAL commander Rear Admiral Arpakorn Yookongkaew said they had been given food, "starting from easily digested and high-powered food with enough minerals.''
The team had been missing since June 23, when they did not return to their homes from practice.
The only trace of them had been bicycles and soccer cleats found outside the entrance of the complex, and handprints along the cave walls. Heavy flooding brought on by days of heavy rains have hampered the divers' efforts to reach the team.
International experts from the United States, Australia, China and Britain have assisted in the search-and-rescue efforts.
The Tham Luang complex is prone to severe flooding during Thailand's rainy season, which lasts from June to October.