Authorities in Thailand say that they will not immediately attempt an underwater evacuation of 12 schoolboys who have been trapped in a cave for almost two weeks because they have not learned adequate diving skills in the few days since searchers reached the area where they are sheltering.
The official in immediate charge of the operation, Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn, indicated strongly at a midnight news conference that if heavy rains started and appeared to be causing flooded areas in the cave to rise again, they would try to take the boys out with divers right away.
Thai officials had been leaning in their public statements toward a quick underwater evacuation because of fear that access to the cave could soon close again because of seasonal monsoon rains expected this weekend. However, cave rescue specialists have cautioned against that approach except as a last resort, because of the dangers it poses.
Croatia’s national soccer team, which is competing in the ongoing World Cup, has offered its “support and love” to the young Thai soccer team trapped in a cave.
The statement Friday said: “We are impressed with the courage and strength the young boys and their coach have shown despite the scary circumstances they find themselves in.”
It added: “Such situations are larger than sport, but their sport spirits will give them strength to face this challenge.”
It finished with the message: “To our soccer family in Thailand, we wish to express our support and love, and we hope the boys and their coach will be together soon with their families.”
The boys and their coach have been trapped by flooding since June 23 and were found by divers Monday. Rescuers are sending them supplies and trying to determine how to get them out.
Elon Musk says he is sending engineers from two of his companies to Thailand to see if they can help bring out the members of a youth soccer team trapped in a flooded cave.
Musk tweeted the announcement after another Twitter user pleaded for him to help the 12 boys and their coach, who have been underground for almost two weeks.
In a series of tweets, Musk said his Boring Co, which digs tunnels for advanced transport systems, has advanced ground penetrating radar, and brainstormed that an air tunnel constructed with soft tubing like a Bouncy Castle could provide flexible passage out.
He said engineers from his Boring Co and SpaceX companies needed to be on site to appreciate the complexities of evacuation. There has been no immediate official reaction to his plans.
FIFA has sent a letter to the president of the Football Association of Thailand offering its “deepest sympathies and support” to the families of young soccer players and their coach trapped in cave in the country’s north.
The letter signed by FIFA President Gianni Infantino also says the organization would like to invite the youngsters and their coach to the World Cup final in Russia, should they be rescued in time and are healthy enough to travel.
The letter says the team’s appearance at the final would “undoubtedly be a wonderful moment of communion and celebration.”
The boys have asked the navy SEALs taking care of them in the cave for details about what has happened in the World Cup since they got trapped June 23.
The commander of Thai navy SEALs working to rescue a youth soccer team trapped in a cave in the country’s north says he believes there is “a limited amount of time” left in which to extract the boys.
SEAL commander Arpakorn Yookongkaew told a news conference Friday morning: “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.”
He did not elaborate. The comments came hours after a former navy SEAL working on the rescue passed out while diving and later died.
A senior army commander, Maj. Gen. Chalongchai Chaiyakam, says that the most pressing mission now is to provide an oxygen line to reach the kids.
Thai authorities say a former navy SEAL working to rescue boys trapped in cave has died from lack of oxygen.
SEAL commander Arpakorn Yookongkaew told a news conference Friday morning that the rescuer was working in a volunteer capacity and died during an overnight mission in which he was placing oxygen canisters.
Thai authorities are racing to pump out water from a flooded cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been trapped since June 23.