Boys trapped in Thai cave are 'not ready' for underwater escape

08 July, 2018, 02:13 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Thai Diver Dies During Cave Rescue Operations

A Thai official said two members of the engineering team dispatched by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk are due to arrive late Saturday to help with efforts to rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped in a flooded cave.

"At first we thought that we could sustain the kids' lives for a long time where they are now, but now, many things have changed", he said, according to The Associated Press. "Everyone is a professional so we're trying to put it away and avoid it happening again", he said, adding: "Everybody is focusing on getting these boys out - keeping them alive or getting them out". "If the oxygen levels are down and the carbon dioxide levels are up, then you can get too much carbon dioxide in your blood".

The letters provoked a surge of emotion from families, who first endured nine long days before their children were found dishevelled and emaciated but alive on Monday - and now face an agonising wait for a unsafe evacuation.

The Thai footballers, aged 11-16, have been stuck in darkness deep underground after setting off to explore the cave with their 25-year-old coach after training on June 23.

"The SEAL team takes very good care of us", wrote Panumat "Mix" Saengdee, 14. "Thank you for your kind support and I would like to say I'm really sorry to you all", he wrote.

The letter signed by Federation Internationale de Football Association president Gianni Infantino also said the organisation would like to invite the youngsters and their coach to the World Cup final in Russia, should they be rescued in time and are healthy enough to travel.

"Don't worry dad and mum", said a note from one of the boys who gave his nickname as "Bew". "Don't forget to throw my birthday party!"

Another, identified as Tun, wrote: "Mom and Dad, please don't worry, I am fine". If I can get out, please take me to have BBQ.

The rest of the scribbled letters on pages from a notebook struck a similar message of love for parents and telling them not to worry. "I'll be there soon", wrote Ekarat Wongsukchan, or Bill, the 14-year-old goalkeeper of the Wild Boars Academy team.

Sompong "Pong" Jaiwong, 13: "Dear Mum and Dad, I love you".

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A former Thai navy SEAL diver, Samarn Kunan, died from a lack of oxygen on Friday as he navigated the cave complex close to the Myanmar border. Monsoon flooding cut off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for nearly 10 days.

Alternative options are being considered, including finding a shaft or drilling into the mountain in which the cave is located.

Thai SEAL commander Arpakorn Yookongkaew has said the tragedy won't stop the rescue mission.

Professional cave divers from Europe are making the unsafe dives with a contingent of Thai navy SEALs.

The rescue effort suffered a disheartening setback Friday with the death of a former Thai navy SEAL diving in the flooded passageways to deliver supplies, as authorities raced against worsening weather and lessening oxygen.

Some of the boys do not know how to swim, let alone scuba dive.

Mr Chongklai Worapongsathorn, deputy director-general of the Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, said many holes have been drilled and many teams have been sent out to look for more, but so far, none of them can lead to where the boys are.

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

In an update early Saturday Narongsak Osatanakorn, the local governor in charge of the operation, said it was "not suitable" to make the boys dive to safety yet.

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