‘Come home’: Thailand clings to hope for boys trapped in cave

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Twitter picture Image copyright Twitter/@namwoon_ccw
Image caption Thailand is waiting with baited breath for the missing boys to return

Twelve young footballers and their coach have been trapped inside a cave in Thailand’s Chiang Rai province for nearly a week.

They went missing after apparently setting out to explore the Tham Luang Nang Non cave, accompanied by their 25-year-old coach.

The huge search for the missing group – thought to have been cut off by rising floodwater – has gripped the country. Now Thais are turning to social media in an outpouring of support and hope.

A hashtag, which translates to “the strangers we want to meet the most” is being used to convey the nation’s concern for the group of boys, aged between 11 and 16.

“I’m waiting for 13 people to come back home,” said this Thai user on Twitter. “Come out. Everyone is waiting for you.”

“I’m waiting to hear the words ‘The search has come to an end, all 13 lives are safe’,” this Twitter user says.

Some social media users shared a picture of the boys sitting on a wild boar. The boys were members of the Moo Pa soccer team, which directly translates to wild boar.

They were said to have regularly visited the cave in the district of Mae Sai for training and recreation.

During the rainy season, which lasts from June till October, the cave can flood up to 5m (16ft).

Other hashtags which translate to phrases like “13 lives must survive” and “Bring home the Moo Pa players” were also trending.

Another Twitter user shared an image of the boys in their football jerseys with the caption “Let’s meet soon”.

Others also sent messages of support to the rescue team.

With the main entrance to the cave flooded, professional divers, rescue workers and military personnel have been working to find an alternative way in.

Water levels in the cave are continually rising, frustrating rescue efforts.

It is not known where in the cave the group are trapped, though footprints have been found inside the cave complex, sparking hope that the boys are still alive.

Messages the children sent before setting off to explore the cave on Saturday suggest they had taken torches and some food.

“I’ve lost hope with people in this country, but not today. [This incident] makes me know this country always has hope,” said one user on Twitter.

“The people in this country [have] left behind their prejudices and come together in every way they can, praying for kids to survive. I hope you’re safe [boys].”

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