Coach of Thai boys trapped in cave apologises to parents

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

One of the engineers was already in the country on holiday and two more were to arrive on Saturday evening, followed by the remaining six on Sunday, said Lt Gen Weerachon Sukondhapatipak, a deputy government spokesman.

"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. 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".

The Thai youth soccer team that has been trapped in a flooded cave for two weeks will not be evacuated Friday, officials said - despite plummeting oxygen levels and monsoon rains expected to hit soon. The letters, carried by divers making 6-hour trips in each direction, were the first direct communication between the parents and their sons.

"Dear all kids' parents, now all of them are fine, the rescue team is treating us well", the 25-year-old coach wrote. "I promise to take the very best care of the kids", Chantawong said in a note given to a diver on Friday and published on the Thai Navy SEAL Facebook page on Saturday.

Pipat Potiayu, 15, wrote: "I love you mom and dad and I want to eat pork shabu".

"If, as we all hope, they are reunited with their families in the coming days and their health allows them to travel, FIFA would be delighted to invite them to attend the 2018 World Cup final as our guests", he wrote in a letter to the head of the Football Association of Thailand.

"Don't worry, we are all strong", one of the boys wrote.

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Duangpetch "Dom" Promthep, 13, called on his parents not to forget to throw him a birthday party. If I can get out, please take me to have BBQ. And he thanked foreign divers who have come to assist in the rescue operation. According to BBC News, teams of Thai and global divers have been supplying the boys and the coach with food, oxygen and medical attention.

The "Wild Boar" football team went exploring in the Tham Luang cave after a football game on June 23 and got trapped kilometres deep inside the cave system as floodwaters caused by heavy rains blocked the entrance. Monsoon flooding cut off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for nearly 10 days as the only way to reach them was by navigating dark and tight passageways filled with muddy water and strong currents.

"At first, we thought the children could stay for a long time ... but now things have changed, we have a limited time", Apakorn Yookongkaew told reporters.

Headcam footage from Thailand shows the tough conditions facing dive teams working to rescue 12 boys and their coach from a cave.

Former Sgt. Saman Kunan, a Thai ex-SEAL, died at 2 a.m. Friday (2 p.m. Thursday ET), as he returned from an operation to deliver oxygen tanks to the cave where the boys are located.

Rescue teams have been pumping millions of liters of water from the cave in an attempt drain the cave but the impending weekend rains threaten to undermine the work.

The boys, in their letters, said he was not to be blamed.

Billionaire Elon Musk has also said he will help.

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