Conditions good for getting Thai boys out

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"This mission is really scary and risky", Pasakorn Boonyalak, deputy governor of Chiang Rai province, said at the press conference.

The boys are now perched on a dry shelf, but rain could reduce that space to "less than 10 sq m (108 sq ft)", Mr Narongsak said. The letters, carried by divers making 6-hour trips in each direction, were the first direct communication between the parents and their sons. "We don't want to make a mistake". A major concern of the rescuers is that oxygen levels in their safe space could fall dangerously low.

An elaborate plan to rescue a soccer team of 12 young boys and their coach from a cave in northern Thailand is taking shape.

"To all the parents, all the kids are still fine. I promise to take the very best care of the kids", he said in a note given to a diver yesterday and published on the Thai Navy SEAL Facebook page today.

"On behalf of the global football community, I would like to join you in expressing my deepest sympathies and support to the families of the players and coach, as well as my solidarity with the people of Thailand at this time of great concern", he wrote.

An update Saturday from the Thai navy said three navy SEALs were with the boys and their coach, one a doctor.

"The environment inside the cave is challenging. We will not let the sacrifice of our friend go to waste", Thai Navy SEAL commander Arpakorn Yookongkaew said.

The twelve boys trapped in a cave in Thailand have exchanged emotional letters with their parent, the first time since their ordeal began two weeks ago. Gen. Chalongchai Chaiyakam, said the most pressing mission is the oxygen line. Monsoon flooding cut off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for nearly 10 days.

Thai authorities are racing to pump out water from the flooded cave before more rains are forecast to hit the northern region.

The rescue effort has grown into an global collaboration, with divers from the US military, the U.K., China and Australia helping out.

A worker takes a break during the pumping operation at the Tham Luang cave complex in Chiang Rai on Saturday afternoon.

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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.

The boys, however, were already looking ahead and appealed to their schools not to be too hard on them.

The boys, in their letters, said he was not to be blamed. The idea is to get some headroom so the boys will not have to rely on scuba apparatus for a long stretch and can keep their heads above water.

United States businessman Elon Musk said that engineers from his firms - SpaceX and Boring Company - were headed to Thailand to see if they could help in the rescue effort.

The oxygen inside the cave is also said to be running out.

He says floodwaters have been drained as much as possible, "but if it rains and adds to it again, we don't know what other risk factors we will have to face". "What will really be the hardest thing for the kids is just staying calm".

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.

This was due to the possibility that access to the cave could soon close again due to seasonal monsoon rains expected this weekend. They entered the cave during fine weather but became trapped when a sudden downpour flooded the narrow tunnels. The only way to reach them was by navigating dark, tight passageways filled with muddy water and strong currents, as well as oxygen-depleted air.

Also, numerous passageways leading to the cave are narrow, and most of the boys do not know how to swim.

Despite the unfortunate death, the volunteers have vowed to continue providing the boys with oxygen as the planned extraction, which involves the boys swimming out of the cave with divers, could still take months.

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