Trapped boys not yet ready to dive out, Thai rescuers say

Former Thai Navy Seal dies trying to rescue boys trapped in cave

Former Thai Navy Seal dies trying to rescue boys trapped in cave

The football coach who took the boys into the cave apologised to parents, but several of them have said they do not blame him. "I promise to take the very best care of the kids", his note reads, sending his love to his own family and adding how much he is looking forward to eating his aunt's home cooking. Don't worry, I'm safe.

Officials say they have a window of up to four days before rains will make the rescue more hard.

In their reply to the handwritten letter of Ekkapol Chanthawong, or Coach Ake, they said they appreciated him for taking care of their kids.

Water pumps are shipped in to drain the rising, murky floodwaters. Every inhalation means more oxygen is taken from the cave pockets and every exhalation means more carbon dioxide.

In his letter sent via divers, the coach had issued an apology to the parents.

"Don't worry, we are all strong", one of the boys wrote.

The schoolboys and their football coach disappeared on June 23 when they were exploring the cave in northern Chiang Rai province.

Rescuers have fed a kilometers-long air pipe into the cave to restore oxygen levels in the chamber where the team are sheltering, accompanied by medics and expert divers.

Another, identified as Tun, wrote: "Mom and Dad, please don't worry, I am fine. Tell Yord, prepare to bring me fried chicken to eat". "With love." The name reference could be of a waiting relative.

One boy named Mick wrote: "Don't be anxious, I miss everyone".

Titan's father also wrote in the same piece of paper as: "Dad misses you much".

The boys, aged between 11 and 16, went missing with the 25-year-old chaperone after soccer practice on June 23 as they set out to explore the Tham Luang cave complex in a forest park near the border with Myanmar. Monsoon flooding cut off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for nearly 10 days as the only way to reach them was by navigating dark and tight passageways filled with muddy water and strong currents.

Narongsak ruled out any rescue attempt for Saturday, saying the boys "cannot dive at this time".

Gong Hui, a Chinese diver involved in the operation that has drawn some 130 Thai and worldwide divers, told Reuters on Saturday before the fresh rains that water levels in the cave had "receded a lot" after sustained pumping had removed millions of litres of water.

"We are still at war with water and time", Osottanakorn also said.

Around 1,000 people are involved in the complex rescue operation. The path out is considered especially complicated because of twists and turns in narrow flooded passages.

The suggestion that the trapped team might have to wait months inside until a safe way out in available - as was the case in 2010 with Chilean miners trapped underground - has been met with little enthusiasm.

Rescuers are also pursuing other options to extract the boys, hoping that finding a shaft or drilling into the mountain in which the cave is located will lead them to a sort of backdoor entrance.

If the risk from either the air or water increased "to the point that we can not accept, we will make decision", he said.

The risks were underlined by the death on Friday of a Thai Navy SEAL diver, who ran out of oxygen while returning from the chamber where the boys are trapped.

Hundreds of rescuers, mostly Thai Navy SEALs, are working to provide those trapped in the cave with all necessary supplies while pumping water out of the complex.

The strategically placed canisters allow divers to stay underwater for longer during what is about a five-hour trip to reach the stranded team.

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk tweeted that a team from his rocket company SpaceX in Los Angeles is building a mini-sub to help with the rescue.

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