A 15-inch narrow passage is what separates the young Thai footballers who are trapped in a cave, and their freedom.
Divers have been steadily delivering supplies to the stranded football team but the path to them has been dangerous and difficult to navigate.
Attempts to rescue the stranded children and their coach has already claimed the life of one rescue diver.
However, despite the direness of the situation, the team of youngsters reportedly remain in good spirits and have even sent letters to their worried family members to assure them they’re well. Furthermore, two of the boys have made it out of the caves.
Reports have circulated two of the boys, who are part of the Thai football team trapped in Tham Luang Nang Non cave have emerged, report from The Guardian. A short statement from local police suggest they’re ‘safe and reasonably well’.
According to the Daily Mail, the boys would need to crawl out of the Tham Luang Nang Non cave, located in Chiang Rai, Thailand – which is filling up with water – in complete darkness, under the guidance of divers. They’d also need to mak e their way through a rocky peak before going back down into dangerous waters again.
The rescue effort has seen the addition of two more British divers added to the rescue team as they now face a race against time to get the boys and their coach to safety. Weather reports indicate they’re expecting a monsoon which could flood the cave ‘like a tsunami’.
Speaking to media outside of the cave, the Governor of Chiang Rai, Narongsak Osatanakorn, who’s heading the operation to rescue the stranded team, said:
We’re trying to pump water out, but more and more is coming in from above and below. Our biggest concern is now the weather.
A heavy downpour comes down into the caves like a tsunami.
The children are learning how to dive. We’d like minimum risk, but we can’t wait until it rains heavily and worsens the situation.
If that happens, we’ll need to reassess. The key thing is the kids’ readiness to dive. If it rains, and the situation is not good, we will try to bring the boys out.
Despite the urgency of the situation and people praying for the team’s safe return, the Moo Pa (Wild Boars) football team have sent out letters to their families to inform them not to worry.
Each one of the boys sent out a letter which they signed off with their nicknames.
Chanin Wiboonroongrueng, aged 11, going by his nickname Titan, is the youngest member of the team and wrote:
Mum and Dad, don’t worry about me, I’m fine. Tell my brother to get ready to take me out for fried chicken.
13-year-old Somphong ‘Pong’ Jaiwong wrote:
Dear Mum and Dad, don’t worry, I’m safe. Love you.
Another player for the Wild Boars told his family:
I’m doing fine. The air is a little cold, but don’t worry. Although, don’t forget to set up my birthday party.
On Friday, July 6, it was announced a former Navy Seal died while delivering supplies to the Thai football team.
Petty Officer Saman Gunan lost consciousness on his way out of the cave, where he’d been delivering air tanks to those inside.
His dive partner managed to bring him out of the water, but Gunan did not regain consciousness.
Rescue operations have been trying to lower the level of the water in the cave by pumping it.
However, if the water levels do not drop, the group will have to learn how to use diving equipment or wait months until the rainy season ends and the cave clears.
Our thoughts are with all those affected.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]