Trapped in a cave for two weeks now, the boys of the stranded Wild Boars football team have asked their families not to worry about them through letters sent via divers.
In different words and handwriting on pages from a notebook, they all reflect the same emotion: how they’re doing well and missing home.
“I’m doing fine, the air is a little cold, but don’t worry. Although, don’t forget to set up my birthday party,” wrote one boy.
“Mom and Dad, please don’t worry, I am fine. I’ve told Yod to get ready to take me out for fried chicken. With love.” wrote a boy named Tun, probably talking about a relative.
“Don’t be worried, I miss everyone. Grandpa, uncle, mom dad, and siblings I love you all. I’m happy being here inside, the navy SEALS have taken good care. Love you all,” wrote another named Mick.
The 12 boys, all aged between 11 and 16, had headed into the cave with their coach to explore it after a football practice on June 23. When they turned to return, they realised that the monsoon flooding had cut off their way out. This even prevented rescuers from finding them for almost 10 days.
The coach, who has been excellent at keeping up the morale of the children in these dangerous circumstances, has sent a letter of apology to the boys’ parents.
“To the parents of all the kids, right now the kids are all fine, the crew are taking good care. I promise I will care for the kids as best as possible. I want to say thanks for all the support and I want to apologise to the parents,” wrote 25-year-old Ekapol Chanthawong.
Rescuers do not plan to immediately attempt an underwater evacuation because the boys have not yet learned adequate diving skills. However, if heavy rains start again, divers will try to take the boys out right away.
Confirming this, Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osatanakorn said at a news conference last night that the boys were doing well and practicing wearing diving masks and breathing in preparation for the diving possibility.
Thai officials had been suggesting that a quick underwater evacuation was needed because of the possibility that access to the cave could soon close again due to the rain expected this weekend. Earlier efforts to pump out water from the cave have been set back every time there has been a heavy rain.
However, cave rescue specialists have cautioned against that approach except as a last resort. They argue that making inexperienced people these young boys use diving gear could be dangerous. The path out is considered especially complicated because of twists and turns in narrow flooded passages.
The only way to reach them has been by navigating dark and tight passageways filled with muddy water and strong currents and in oxygen-depleted air.
The alternative (so far) that the kids and their coach may have to wait for months in the caves until a safe way out is available – as was the case in 2010 with Chilean miners trapped underground – has not been eagerly welcomed.
Authorities continue to pursue a third option, which is finding a shaft or drilling into the mountain in which the cave is located to find a sort of back door entrance.
Tesla and SpaceX head Elon Musk offered suggestions and help for getting the team out. One of his enterprises, Boring Co, digs tunnels for advanced transport systems and has advanced ground-penetrating radar.
Rescue efforts met hit a tragic hurdle yesterday when a former Thai navy SEAL died in the flooded passageways of the cave while delivering oxygen supplies. Saman Gunan’s death underscored the risks of making the underwater journey.
At this point, divers are taking up to five hours to reach the stranded kids and the coach through the labyrinth of the underground cave. The strategically placed canisters allow the divers to stay underwater longer during the trip.
News credit : Indiatoday