Thai coach apologizes to parents as boys write they're OK

Ekapol Chanthawong on a trip with the Wild Boars to a meditation trip

The boys, aged 11-16, and their 25-year-old coach went exploring in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in the northern province after a soccer game June 23. They would have to carry at least three oxygen tanks to reach them before replacing the tanks again as they leave.

"Everything is a race against time", said Kamolchai Kotcha, an official of the forest park where the cave complex is located. Players from teams including England and Sweden have recorded good luck video messages for the trapped boys, and Federation Internationale de Football Association has invited the 13 to the World Cup final should they be rescued in time and are healthy enough to travel.

The path out is considered especially complicated because of twists and turns in narrow flooded passages.

Officials prefer to get the boys out as soon as possible because heavy rain is expected by Saturday. They have a very amusing music video you can see below.

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.

Father and son team Rafael and Shlomi Aroush drove for 12 hours from their home in Udon Thani province to help with the rescue effort, arriving at the cave early on Thursday.

Many fans on social media said the boys deserved the World Cup trophy for the way they have handled their ordeal. Today Saman rests. We will complete this mission, just as Saman intended, " they vowed, signing off with a battle cheer adopted from the U.S. Navy: "Hooyah Hooyah Hooyah". "Finding the boys doesn't mean we've finished our mission".

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp urged them to "stay strong and know we are with you", in a video message sent to CNN.

The boys sounded calm and reassuring in handwritten notes to their families that were made public Saturday.

"I've been speaking about it with a few of the boys", said England defender John Stones, according to British media.

"I'm anxious about the rain", said Visunlaya Songjang, 59, a volunteer from Mae Sai. Another said: "I love you father and mother and Toy". Although he resigned from the unit, he still loved and had a good connection with all the SEALs.

One boy named Mick wrote: "Don't be anxious, I miss everyone".

In a letter of his own, the coach, Ekapol Chanthawong, apologized to the boys' parents for the ordeal.

"To all the parents, all the kids are still fine". I promise I will care for the kids as best as possible. "I don't want to say it, but it could be a catastrophe", he said.

A senior army commander, Major General Chalongchai Chaiyakam, said that the most pressing mission now is to provide an oxygen line to reach the children, who are stuck deep in the complex but are being looked after by four Seals, including a medic. The 13 are having health evaluations and rehabilitation, and are being taught diving skills.

Another navy official said he did not believe the man's oxygen tank ran out.

And on Twitter, he's also been offering outside-the-box ideas to help rescuers. "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".

A huge operation is underway at the Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex, where dozens of Thai Navy SEALs and global experts are attempting to find a way to get the boys out.

"We can no longer wait for all conditions (to be ready) because circumstances are pressuring us", Thai SEAL commander Arpakorn Yookongkaew told a news conference. Musk's Boring Company digs tunnels for advanced transport systems and has advanced ground-penetrating radar.

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