Thai coach apologizes to parents as boys write they're OK

Thai Diver Dies During Cave Rescue Operations

Former Thai navy SEAL working to rescue soccer team trapped in a cave has died

The 12 boys and their soccer coach stuck in a cave in Thailand have been cut off from communication with the outside world for two weeks. "I want to say thanks for all the support and I want to apologise to the parents".

British divers found all members of the team and their coach alive on Monday.

Authorities in Thailand say that they will not immediately attempt an underwater evacuation of 12 schoolboys who have been trapped in a cave for nearly two weeks because they have not learned adequate diving skills in the few days since searchers reached the area where they are sheltering. The way out is a hard dive with many narrow passages through muddy water.

The football coach trapped in a Thai cave with 12 boys has apologised to their parents as the youngsters sent out heartfelt notes describing their plight.

"Some of the chimneys are as deep as 400 metres. but they still can not find their location", Narongsak Osottanakorn, the governor of Chiang Rai province told reporters, according to AFP.

The rescue efforts are being delayed as the only viable option is to train the boys to swim and dive.

A handwritten message written by a diver during the rescue misssion reads, "The children said don't worry about them".

"Despite this, we will continue until we accomplish our mission", Arpakorn said.

Dwindling oxygen levels in the cave complex and weather forecasts predicting more heavy rain added to the pressure on authorities to work out a rescue plan.

"Some [of the chimneys] are as deep as 400 metres. but they still can not find their location yet", rescue mission chief Osottanakorn told reporters, adding the mission lacked the technology "to pinpoint where they are staying".

The group entered the Tham Luang cave on June 23 for what was meant to be a half-day trek, but were trapped inside by rising floodwaters.

Rescue postponed for soccer kids trapped in cave
It said that the team's appearance at the final would "undoubtedly be a wonderful moment of communion and celebration". It also extended sympathy with the boys and the coach and solidarity with all Thais for a successful operation.

The news follows the death of Saman Kunan, a former Thai navy SEAL who was volunteering on the rescue mission and whose own air ran out while he was placing air tanks throughout the cave.

Ivan Katadzic, a Danish diving instructor who has been ferrying oxygen tanks into the cave, said after a dive on Friday he was "double positive" about the mission because the water level had dropped considerably.

The 38-year-old volunteer died after losing consciousness in a passageway on his way out of the cave.

The Thai Football Association shared a letter to its Facebook page it had received from FIFA inviting the boys to the World Cup Final.

Short notes scribbled by each schoolboy on smudged, yellowish paper showed both humour and homesickness as they sought to reassure their relatives they were in good spirits.

"I confirm that we are at war with water and time from the first day up to today", said Narongsak.

Drilling into the cave and extracting the boys from above has been suggested, but Narongsak, speaking at a news conference, said only 18 of 100 holes that have been located are potentially viable.

It is understood that the schoolboys and their 25-year-old coach will be guided out of the 4km cave tunnel, one-on-one with a Navy SEAL diver.

Thai people have a split opinion about Ekkapol's role in the football team's predicament.

The Thai authorities had considered providing enough supplies to the trapped boys so that can survive in the cave for a few extra months until the monsoon season is over.

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