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Thai Crews to Hold Off on Cave Rescue Attempt

Thai Crews to Hold Off on Cave Rescue Attempt

Twelve boys who have been trapped inside a Thai cave for over two weeks have written a series of heartbreaking notes to their families.

"I talk to them every day, if they'd like us to take the kids out, it has to be in the minimum risk", he said.

"Teacher, don't give us a lot of homework", it concluded.

And the 25-year-old football coach Ekkapol Chantawong has apologised to the parents of the 11 to 16-year-olds in his letter.

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

Thai rescue team members walk inside a cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand.

Narongsak said experts told him flooding from new rain could shrink the unflooded space where the boys are sheltering to just 10 square meters (108 square feet). "Don't worry, we are safe now"; "When I come out, we will go eat fried chicken"; "I miss everybody"; "Don't forget to arrange a birthday party for me".

Another wrote: "Nick loves Mum and Dad and siblings".

Gong Hui, a Chinese diver involved in the operation that has drawn some 130 Thai and global 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.

"The war ends when we win all three battles - the battles to search, rescue and send them home".

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Although three of those stranded had been described as weakening, Osottanakorn said the team was in relatively good condition overall.

Authorities now say that nearly the entire first 1,500 metre stretch from the cave mouth to the third chamber - where the Thai navy SEALS have set up a command post - is now walkable and that they have the water levels under control. "Love you all", wrote Mick. "I promise to take the very best care of the kids", he said in a note given to a diver on Friday and published on the Thai Navy SEAL Facebook page on Saturday. "I have been away for two weeks but will come back and help you sell your stuff".

According to the BBC, the highly trained diver ran out of of oxygen during the 11 hour trip in and out of the cave and was unable to be revived by his diving partner.

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.

Finnish volunteer diver Mikko Paasi, a long-term resident of Thailand, said Kunan's death had changed the mood on the ground and made real for rescuers just how unsafe the mission had become.

Rescue teams have been giving the group crash courses in swimming and diving as they prepare to get them out safely. He also offered suggestions on how to improve the rescue effort.

One boy, Mick, wrote: "Don't be anxious, I miss everyone. Night loves you all", wrote Night, in the Thai manner of referring to oneself in the third person. The boys and their coach are accompanied by several Thai navy SEAL divers.

But the difficulty of getting them out was emphasised on Friday when Saman Kunan, a 38-year-old former Thai Navy Seal died after laying oxygen tanks along a potential exit route.

The boys also wrote saying they are doing well and missing their families. One of his enterprises is Boring Co., which digs tunnels for advanced transport systems and has advanced ground-penetrating radar.


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