CHIANG RAI (THAILAND), Efforts are continuing apace to rescue the 12 boys and coach of a football team stranded in a cave in northern Thailand, authorities said on Thursday.

Water levels in parts of the Tham Luang cave complex in Chiang Rai decreased by 40cm on Wednesday, said a rescue officer from the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.

The authorities are trying to mount an operation focusing on bringing out the 13 stranded before a downpour forecast for this weekend.

"We can't risk more flooding, Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn said in a press conference at the rescue site on Thursday, adding that the main concern remains the water levels inside due to monsoon rains.

Water levels inside the cave have gone down as it has been pumped out nonstop, according to Narongsak. Rescue teams are racing against time to bring them out before water rises back to same levels.

"We were racing against time before we found them. Now we're racing against water. It keeps seeping through the cave."

Narongsak also said that phone lines are being extended into part of the cave where the 13 are located, but earlier during the process, the telephones fell into the water and were all damaged.

He added that it still takes 11 hours to receive any information from where they are.

The governor also said that the boys and their coach were in good spirits and continue to be patient.

The group was discovered by Thai Navy SEALS and two British cave diving experts on Monday, having gone missing since June 23, when a post-practice outing went awry, prompting a high-profile search and rescue effort.

Source: NAM News Network