♪ this is "nightline." >> tonight, "miracle underground." >> we are coming. it's okay. >> 12 boys and their soccer coach feared dead after ten days missing inside a cave. found alive deep within the darkness, trapped by flood waters. how rescuers tracked down the children using markings on the cave walls. and now the race against time. the long and treacherous path to safety. with more heavy rains on the way. plus -- ♪ it was meant to be, it'll be >> staten island superstar for this hometown humble hero fame and fortune were always meant to be. >> i will be an international superstar. >> how bebe rex ah went from writing songs for your favorite pop stars to becoming one of
and as we come on the air tonight, it is midday if thailand, and rescue crews are winding down from a miracle and winding up for another monumental task. hours ago they were able to locate an entire boys' soccer team missing inside a cave for ten days. they were huddled in the dark alive but weak. now rescuers have to figure out how to get the boys to safety. abc's james longman is at the cave site in thailand. >> how many of you? >> 13. >> 13. >> reporter: images everyone hoped but no one expected to see. 12 boys and their found alive inside this cave in thailand. >> we're coming. it's okay. many people are coming. we are the first. many people come. >> reporter: the boys, ranging in age from 11 to 16, had been feared dead after they went soccer coach in the tham
luang nang non cave in the mountains of northern thailand. now the world watched in disbelief as the group, still in their soccer jerseys, huddled together two miles inside the caves. someone in the group asks how long they've been down there. >> you have been here ten days. ten days. you are very strong. very strong. >> reporter: the sound of water and the darkness of the video an indication of just how far and how deep into the earth the team of english divers had to go to find them. those divers reassuring them that more help is on the way. >> we're coming. we're coming. navy s.e.a.l.s are coming with food and doctor and everything. >> we're very happy. >> we are happy too. >> yes. thank you so much. >> reporter: the team is believed to have entered the cave on june 23rd, when one boy missed his birthday the next day, the alarm was raised.
the team's abandoned bikes, helmets, and cleats then found outside the cave entrance. and it's more of a labyrinth than a cave. miles of passageways and tunnels running underground that can flood up to 20 feet in heavy downforz. the team's coach, who previously posted these images of his team on social media, would often bring the team here for excursions. it's believed the group crawled through a narrow channel within the cave that then became flooded in a sudden heavy downpour. >> the water now, the flood water is getting higher and higher. >> reporter: a search and rescue was immediately launched. over 1,000 people involved in the round-the-clock effort from all four corners of the earth. >> you have u.s. here. we have australians here, chinese, the british divers. >> reporter: rescue teams drilling holes using ultrasonic sensors, dropping maps and care packages through small crevis r squeezed through tight passages. experts worked aboveground too
as every possibility was explored in this massive operation. all over these mountains small groups of scouts like these have been sent ahead to find openings to the cave from above because they've been so badly flooded down below. >> it's too deep. >> reporter: it's too deep for you to find -- >> reporter: this geologist told me his team can scan 200 yards down into the earth, looking for gaps to knock through new entrances. and a nation looked on. the boys' parents prayed at the mouth of the cave. this mother calling out, "my son, come out. i'm waiting for you here." rescue divers pulling themselves along ropes deep inside, fighting against powerful currents. the plan was to be able to reach this cavern, which rescuers believed to be above the water level and where they hoped the team had sought refuge. it turned out they were another 400 meters further into the cave network. >> that's ready to go in. >> reporter: ben was one of the
rescue divers. he's a cave explorer who's been living in thailand for 18 years. >> what's it like in the cave? >> the first days was very hard. i had very little hope in getting through because if was raining a lot and the outflow was very hard. it was really pulling hand over hand. and it was like diving in a cafe latte. i had no hope in making it that far. but then as they installed more pumps, the water down, the rain got a little bit less, the visibility got better, and actually today the visibility was -- you could almost drink the water. >> reporter: cave diving in a place like this is a daunting task. >> siphons filled with water. you have to dive down and come up and then you're back to rock climbing really over huge hills and -- so it takes about an hour and a half to two hours depending on the amount of gear you have to drag behind you. and then the diving starts. >> up, down, up, down. >> yeah. so the water is about 21 degrees celsius in the chamber itself it's nearly 100 fahrenheit,
which doesn't make it easy. >> reporter: then he saw a hopeful sign. writing on the wall of one of the passageways, which he says indicated that he and the other rescuers were going in the right direction. >> i'd like to believe it's the kids' writing because it looked quite fresh and there's a bit of a tradition going on with youngsters to -- like football clubs and so on, to go in the caves, see how far you go in and you write your name on the wall. >> reporter: emergency teams from around the world set up a staging area in one of the cave's chambers, bringing in lights, medical supplies, and oxygen tanks. >> as long as they have water and they don't get hypothermia, then options are quite high. >> reporter: the thai provincial governor nuanced that miraculous news. all 12 boys and their coach had been found alive. [ cheers and applause ] it's incredible news. thailand's prayers hav off. familiesd gathered outside the cave were overjoyed. >> what condition are they in? >> they're very weak.
>> very weak. >> yeah, but they're all alive. >> and not in life-threatening conditions. >> no. >> so they're going to be okay. >> no guarantees, but yes. >> the biggest challenge actually right now is simply the fact that they have been without food for nine days and if they suddenly were given a bunch of food and started to eat it right now that could actually kill them. >> reporter: a medic will spend the night inside the cave nourishme nourishment, helping them to recover and assessing their strength to make the journey out. >> from our point of view, you know, we report on sad stories. we never know what to expect. this is incredible. despite the elation of discovering them alive, it is tempered with the knowledge that tomorrow the treacherous process of getting them out will begin. much of the tunnel is still submerged, and the steep cliffs might be too much for the weakened schoolboys to handle. >> if they are in a place in the cave that is safe from further flooding, then the safest option is to just keep supplying them in the cave with food and the
ability to purify water. if the area that they're in is not safe, if the rains come and the water goes up, then the big issue that they'll be facing is the fact that it is now -- the only real option would be to dive them out. and that is both technically very challenging. it's also incredibly risky. >> we are going to come together to figure out what the best possible solution is and kind of be able to get the kids out safely and as quickly as possible. >> reporter: time is not on their side. heavy rains are expected again any day now. >> once the heavy rain starts the whole system will fill up and the flow is too hard, there's no way you'll get in. so now eyre in between the two rains. so we got really lucky now that we progressed this much. >> reporter: despite the hopeful scene outside the entrance, a happy ending to this story has not yet been written. the group must make it out. and that journey will be a lot more difficult than the one they took in. for "nightline" i'm james longman in chang rai in
thailand. next, she's a ferrari, but she wasn't always. how bebe rexha kicked her music career into overdrive. ♪ i'm a ferrari ♪ on mulholland drive no matter how much you clean, does your house still smell stuffy? that's because your home is filled with soft surfaces that trap odors and release them back into the room. so, try febreze fabric refresher. febreze finds odors trapped in fabrics and cleans them away as it dries. use febreze every time you tidy up to keep your whole house smelling fresh air clean. fabric refresher even works for clothes you want to wear another day. make febreze part of your clean routine for whole home freshness.
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island, where she wrote the songs that shot her to stardom. here's abc's zachary quiche. >> thank you. thank you so much. >> welcome back to staten island. >> thank you so much. thank you. >> reporter: pop star bebe rexha is taking us on a ride. >> may i take a picture? >> of course. >> reporter: on the ferry to her hometown of staten island. in new york city. >> hi. how are you? >> we're so proud of you. >> oh, thank you. >> you know, it's funny because i remember taking the staten morning or after school, and now taking the staten island ferry with the whole glam squad. >> first time going back like this? >> yeah, this is cool. ♪ i can see you >> reporter: at 28 years old the singer and songwriter has mastered the art of making hits. ♪ because i got you sex appeal on "i got you." ♪ i got you, i gout and defined genres. ♪ i don't need to be so uptight ♪ with "meant to be," the country collaboration with floridaa lin
on the charts for the third week in a row. ♪ it'll be, it'll be ♪ maybe just let it be but despite her rise bebe has been true to her roots. >> this is like the sickest view of the city right here. >> growing up in staten island what's this relationship you have with manhattan? >> to me it was more like oh, my gosh-i want to be a big star one day-i want to like come into the city and work in the city and make it out here. it was the city of dreams for me. >> reporter: she spent years paying her dues and writing for others. ♪ i'm friend with the monster ♪ that's under my bed remember when eminem and rihanna dropped "monster"? bebe wrote it. or david guetta's "hey mama." yeah, that's hers. >> it's funny. i never wanted to write songs. i just saw like christina aguilera and britney spears and destiny's child and i wanted to
just be a singer. it's been a really long journey in trying to like i'm bebe rexha and this is who i am and i'm not just like the faceless songwriter or artist. >> reporter: her childhood home, a humble duplex on this crowded block. >> i'm going to show to you my house. >> reporter: but her goals were never basic. >> i wrote all my songs. i even played piano here. it was awesome. so this is my room. >> reporter: is it? >> 10 by 10 feet or whatever. >> reporter: the seeds of ambition were planted here and intentions were set to become a worldwide star. >> it's door that i heard a lot about, huh? >> yeah. i mean, this is kind of -- this is kind of embarrassing. >> reporter: this is like an old school vision board. >> yeah. >> reporter: worldwide superstar. look at you. >> and before i wrote the monster for eminem and rihanna i wrote this. "i will write an international smash." >> reporter: bebe gives a nod taupe rah and her dad for the idea.
>> i came home after school and she said when she started out she put a check on her airmoror and she looked att every day, like to oprah winfrey for $500 million. so i said i'm going to write it on my door. ♪ i'm a less i'm a loser ♪ i'm a hater i'm a user >> reporter: her latest single "i'm a mess" went gold in just one day. >> what's kept me kind of going is sense of like hunger and drive and passion from music but also a sense of insecurity, of feeling like i need to belong and prove myself to the world. >> reporter: despite her success she's also confronting stardom in real time. as we witnessed when she spotted a billboard for her new album in her old neighborhood. >> it's literally five blocks from here. this is insane. i have to take an instagram. this is so awesome. can i take a picture of this? hey, mom. take a picture of me, mom. >> i have a really strong team around me. i drive them crazy because i
have moments of like just crying and being on the road and being like i want to -- like watching pride & prejudice and watching a love movie, and being like i want to be in love. or just happy moments. sometimes i'll just cry to myself because i'm happy but i just don't ever show that to people. i have this weird thing of being scared like i'm going to jinx things. >> really? >> i'm superstitious. yeah. >> reporter: there's a connection to that culture. she's proud of where she's from. her father's an immigrant. her mother is first generation. both parents made sacrifices for her to be here. perhaps it's their journey and the values they instill that separate her from the pack. >> i'll be honest. the other day my mom, i acted up a little bit, and listen, i'm 28. my mom took my cell phone away. she took my laptop away. i was in the hotel room and she literally body slammed me to the bed. it's embarrassing. i was acting up a little bit and acting a little bit like a diva and she's like you're not trying
this with me. my dad makes that really clear. he's like i don't care how much money you make. you can have a billion dollars. respect for other people and especially your elders and for yourself is the most important thing. the stress of the industry gets to me sometimes and all the traveling and constantly going, going, gone. ♪ i'm a ferrari ♪ after the party's gone >> reporter: those feelings something she writes about in songs like "ferrari." >> how does being a songwriter give you more leverage or power? >> you know, if you don't write your own songs, it's kind of like this luck game. you have to believe in you on other terms. do they think you're pretty enough or skinny enough or can you dance? are you a girl that girls want to be friends with or guys want to be with? it's who you know and how much do you want to pay for a record whereas when you're a songwriter you write the song and you are the controller and you own the publishing. >> we're at tottenville high school and this is where i went to high school.
i remember you. how are you? nice to see you. i can't believe you're here. i graduated in 2007. >> i know. i'm still here. >> you look great. >> reporter: bebe came back to surprise a group of 60 students who think they're here for a student council meeting. [ cheers and applause ] ♪ it's just me myself and i >> reporter: they bust out bebe's old hit "me myself and i." ♪ i don't need a hand to hold ♪ even when the night is cold ♪ i got that fire in my soul ♪ nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah ♪ nah, nah, nah, nah, nah ♪ nah, nah, nah, nah, nah >> i was so nervous. i was like they're not going to know who i am. so i'm glad you all screamed because i thought they're going to be like who is this bitch? >> reporter: for these kids she's a local hero they can identify with. >> i hope you guys kill it and have a successful career. believe in yourself, love yourself. and especially for the girls
here i know it's hard. i know it sucks sometimes being a girl. but support each other and don't be competitive. because trust me, you're going to need each other. >> reporter: what is it about her that's a source of inspiration for you? >> she's so humble about it. and she's beautiful. and the fact that she was like i don't know if anyone would know me but everyone knew her. >> being from the same place as her, even the same school it's so cool how she's so successful and all of us want to be the same way she is. >> reporter: this is the story that's still playing out. just a kid from staten island who dared to dream. >> i louf guys. if you have any questions you have my e-mail. don't give it to anybody. >> reporter: for "nightline" i'm zachary quiche on staten island. next here, the neighborhood flip-off. cop versus kid. cop versus kid. this is a cell. so are all these. they work together,
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brown jr. rising to the challenge with a cartwheel is a backflip of his own in full uniform. brown says his playground antics are his way of bridging the gap between the community and the police. there have to be easier ways of bridging the gap, but big respect nonetheless. thank you for watching "nightline" tonight. and as always, we are online 24/7 on our "nightline" facebook page. thank you again for watching. and good night.