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Thai soccer team's cave ordeal hits 2-week mark

08 July, 2018, 05:48 | Author: Candice Daniels
  • Ekapol Chanthawong on a trip with the Wild Boars to a meditation trip

For two weeks, 12 young soccer players and their coach have been trapped in a partially flooded cave in northern Thailand, riveting the nation and making news around the world.

"Dad, Mum, don't worry I'm fine".

"Don't worry, everybody is healthy", one letter said, according to an image of the note posted online by the Thai navy SEALs.

The boys, aged 11-16, and their 25-year-old coach went exploring in the cave after a soccer game June 23.

The local governor supervising the rescue mission said Saturday that mild weather and falling water levels over the last few days had created appropriate conditions for an underwater evacuation, but that they won't last if it rains again.

The boys' soccer coach, Akkapol Chanthawong, also wrote a letter to their parents apologizing for what happened and vowing to keep them safe.

Members of the team wrote the messages in pen by torchlight inside the cave, then handed them to rescue divers who carried them to the outside world.

The children urged relatives "not to worry" and asked for their favourite food once they are safely evacuated.

Another boy, 13-year-old Sompong "Pong" Jaiwong, put on a courageous face: "Dear Mum and Dad, I love you".

"If I get out, please can you bring me some grilled pork and vegetables?"

Search and rescue efforts have been hampered by rising water levels.

"Now and in the next three or four days, the conditions are ideal [for evacuation] in terms of the water, the weather and the boys' health", Osottanakorn told reporters. I'm doing fine. SEAL team is taking care of me well.

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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. Grandpa, uncle, Dad, Mum and brothers. "I promise to take the very best care of the kids", he said.

The letters were shared on social media by the Thai navy SEALs and translated by ABC News.

"From the situation assessment, we need to use the area to help victims", police said.

Duangpetch "Dom" Promthep, 13, called on his parents not to forget to throw him a birthday party.

Love you, mum." Nattawut "Tle" Takamsai, 14, wrote: "I miss Mum, Dad and Jubjang too. "Further to that, we also wish that the rescue operation could be successfully done without any further casualties".

The group was found dishevelled and emaciated, but alive on a muddy ledge by rescue divers on Monday, but rescue workers are still struggling for ways to extract the team from the complex cave system. "Night loves you all", wrote Night, in the Thai manner of referring to one's self in the third person.

A scrawled message emerges from the coach of the team, offering his "apologies" to their parents.

The boys have been practising wearing dive masks and breathing in case they have to be brought out underwater, but it has also been suggested that they may have to wait months inside until a safe way out is available.

Experts say divers have required three hours to reach the boys, located about 2.5 miles from the mouth of the cave.

A former Thai navy SEAL has died during the rescue effort while diving in flooded passageways to deliver oxygen supplies.

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

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