Federation Internationale de Football Association to Trapped Thai Soccer Team

Thai Diver Dies During Cave Rescue Operations

Thai Diver Dies During Cave Rescue Operations

The 12 boys and their football coach trapped in waterlogged caves in Thailand will not be rescued overnight as they "cannot dive", officials say.

The diver's death also highlighted the risks for the boys, who have no scuba diving experience, if authorities decide they should attempt to swim out of the flooded cave.

"Some (of the chimneys) are as deep as 400 metres. but they still can not find their location yet", Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters, adding the mission lacked the technology "to pinpoint where they are staying".

Officials warned on Friday that oxygen levels inside the cave have fallen and rescuers were racing to get more oxygen pipes into the cave.

Thai officials had been suggesting in public statements that a quick underwater evacuation of the boys and their soccer coach was needed because of the possibility that access to the cave could soon close again due to seasonal monsoon rains expected this weekend.

The coach of the 12 boys inside the Thai cave has apologised to their parents.

It's a story that's gripped all corners of the world for the past two weeks.

Conditions for a rescue would be best over the next three to four days before heavy rains arrive, Narongsak said.

Ekkapol Chantawong was the only adult with the children - aged 11 to 16 - who were discovered on a muddy ledge by rescue divers on Monday after being lost for nine days.

He added that the last time the two spoke, "we talked about the kids - whether they were out yet".

He said that a British diver who returned from the cave late in the evening reported that the boys were still in good health and that oxygen levels in the cave were stable for now.

"On behalf of the worldwide 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", Infantino wrote in a letter to the Thai Football Association.

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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 group entered the cave on June 23 and got trapped as floodwaters tore in. Aunt, please tell grandma to please prepare the vegetable juice and fried pork skin for me.

The boys, whose letters to their parents from inside the cave were published on Saturday, were still in good shape.

His death marks the first fatality in the massive operation to rescue the group and underscores just how unsafe the voyage is going in and out of the cave, even for those who have experience.

The diver was identified as Saman Kunam.

He has since been hailed a hero for his efforts, with Thailand's Prime Minister promising that he did not die in vain.

But the difficulty of getting them out was emphasised on Friday when Saman Kunan, a 38-year-old former Thai Navy Seal died after laying oxygen tanks along a potential exit route.

Thai soldiers and volunteers are seen at the entrance of Tham Luang cave at the Khun Nam Nang Non Forest Park in Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province, July 5, 2018.

Late Friday, Thai officials were still trying to come up with a workable extraction plan for the group trapped for almost two weeks deep inside the cavern, stoking fears that all available options remain too risky.

"We are carrying oxygen canisters to where the boys are", Narongsak said.

"We're afraid of the weather and the oxygen in the cave [reducing in quality], but we have to try to set the plan and see which is best".

The navy is teaching the boys the basics of diving, with a view to guiding them out through flood waters.

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