The distressed parents of a group of Thai boys trapped inside a cave have reportedly sent them letters after authorities confirmed they’re not strong enough to dive, so can’t be rescued yet.
Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters on Friday that the boys were working to build up their strength, but were not yet ready to navigate their way through small underwater passages – which can reportedly take an experienced diver around five hours.
However, amid fears of low oxygen levels inside the Tham Luang caves in northern Thailand, and the threat of monsoonal rain potentially flooding them, they may need to attempt a rescue within the coming days.
British divers will lead the rescue operation, but until then, oxygen is being fed through a tube to the 12 boys and their coach, as well as oxygen tanks sent in with rescuers to help them stabilise their breathing amid poor air conditions.
According to the Australian, Mr Narongsak told reporters that the children had “already learned how to dive and how to breathe”, however – while they were claimed to be in good health – they still haven’t been deemed fit to attempt the 1.7km dive.
“We are afraid of the weather and the oxygen levels in the cave but we have to try and minimise the risk,” he added, the publication reports.
“I talk to (the families) everyday and they would like us to bring their kids out but I said it has to be minimum risk. If there’s too much risk we will wait but we cannot wait until the rain.”
While rescuers can try to control water levels with light rain, if that turns heavy, he said “we will try to bring them out”.
“Time is limited. If they stay in the cave for a long time where will they find the air to breathe? If it rains heavily and the water level increases then there will be less air,” he said.
Now, as they wait outside, parents of some of the football team have sent loving messages to their children as they await news, the Australian reports.
It comes after a former Thai Navy diver tragically died while trying to rescue the boys just hours ago.
Announcing the devastating news to reporters on Friday morning, Chiang Rai Deputy Governor Passakorn Boonyaluck said 38-year-old Saman Gunan was working in a volunteer capacity.
“His job was to deliver oxygen (in the cave). He did not have enough on his way back,” news.com.au reported he said.
It has been almost two weeks since the soccer team and their 25-year-old coach were reported missing with emergency crews making the miraculous discovery nine days after they were reported missing.
Surprisingly the boys seemed in good spirits and health despite being trapped inside the pitch black cave on a muddy ledge without food for over a week.