Soccer coach trapped in Thailand cave apologises to boys' parents in letter

Soccer coach trapped in Thailand cave apologises to boys' parents in letter

Soccer coach trapped in Thailand cave apologises to boys' parents in letter

The accident marks the first major setback for the gargantuan effort, which started nearly two weeks ago after the "Wild Boars" team went into the cave in northern Thailand after football practice.

However, the official in immediate charge of the operation, Governor Narongsak Osatanakorn, indicated at a news conference that if heavy rains started and appeared to be causing flooded areas in the cave to rise again, divers would try to take the boys out right away. However, cave rescue specialists have cautioned against that approach except as a last resort, because of the dangers it poses.

Federation Internationale de Football Association says it will invite the 12 boys and their coach stuck in Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai to the 2018 World Cup final in Moscow if they are successfully extracted and are strong enough.

Family members grieve during arrival honours for the remains of Saman Gunan a former Navy Seal who died during the rescue.

"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. We have a limited amount of time".

Four navy SEALs are stationed with the boys to monitor their health, provide them with food and check on oxygen levels.

A senior army commander, Maj. Gen. Chalongchai Chaiyakam told reporters the most important task is to set up an oxygen line to reach the boys, the AP reports.

More than 100 Thai navy SEALs have been working around the clock to retrieve the stranded football team in a race against nature.

That plan was dropped after rescuers realized the 12 boys, ages 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach are too weak and too inexperienced to attempt the harrowing journey out of the cave. They became trapped when a deluge of monsoonal rains flooded the cave.

A massive rescue operation is under way, with high-powered pumps working round-the-clock to reduce the water level inside the cave.

Cave rescue experts have said the safest option for the group may be to remain where they are until the water recedes.

The diver's death serves as a reminder of the risks that the boys face.

The image showed Samarn Kunan standing with the rest of the volunteers prior to him going on a mission that involved him placing oxygen canisters in the cave.

"On his way back he lost consciousness", Navy Seal commander Apakorn said, adding he died despite the desperate efforts of his to help bring him out. Another navy official said he didn't believe the man's oxygen tank ran out.

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

After a lengthy meeting with Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda at the base camp, Governor Narongsak said all plans to evacuate the boys were still being evaluated.

He initially said the boys were "ready to go" but then later backtracked by saying they were "not ready to dive".

They've practised wearing diving masks and breathing, in preparation for the diving possibility. The idea is to get some headroom so the boys would not be reliant on scuba apparatus for a long stretch and could keep their heads above water.

Some experts have suggested the team stay in place until flooding subsides, which could mean months.

The football coach's message is the first time he has spoken publicly after facing criticism for agreeing to take the young boys into the cave during the monsoon season. The latest was Elon Musk, the entrepreneur behind the Tesla automobile and the SpaceX rocket company, who said he would send engineers to help.

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