Australian experts help Thai cave rescue

By AAP Newswire

A dozen Australian defence and police specialists have joined in the rescue of a young soccer team trapped in a flooded Thai cave complex.

The boys, aged 11-16, and their 25-year-old coach disappeared after they went exploring in the cave in northern Chiang Rai province on June 23.

The team became trapped inside when heavy rains flooded the cave but were found by rescue divers late on Monday night.

Six dive specialists from the Australian Federal Police arrived on Saturday to help the Royal Thai Navy get essential supplies to the trapped group.

On Thursday, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced that number would be bolstered by two Australian Defence Force disaster recovery experts.

Another senior Australian Federal Police officer will be deployed to support planning and co-ordination efforts.

"The rescue mission is reaching a very critical stage," Ms Bishop told reporters in Darwin.

"The Thai navy divers have provided the boys and their coach with food and water and medicines. However, it's still not known how they'll actually be able to recover them."

Crisis rescue support is also being provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.