Officials have decided they cannot wait to save the group any longer, as they believe the boys are now “fit enough and ready”.
The boys, aged between 11 and 16, as well as their 25-year-old coach, have been stranded for two weeks on a ledge in the flooded Tham Luang Nang Non caves in Chiang Rai, northern Thailand.
How did the Thai soccer team end up in the cave?
The group became trapped on June 23 when they started exploring the caves after going on a picnic following football practice.
The group had been missing for nine days before they were found huddled inside the cave and survived by drinking water dripping off the stalactites above them.
What will happen now?
Journalists were told to leave the immediate area by 9am (3am BST).
Police announced on a loudspeaker at the muddy encampment: “Everyone who is not involved with the operations has to get out of the area immediately.
GETTYThai cave rescue update: The group has been trapped for two weeks
“From the situation assessment, we need to use the area to help victims."
Komsan Sa-ardluan, the Mae Sai police commander, added: “Assessing the situation now, it is necessary to evacuate the area for the rescue operation.
“Those unrelated to the rescue operation, please evacuate the area immediately.”
Michael Safi, a diver present at the cave site, told The Guardian the rescue