Published: Sun, July 08, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Federation Internationale de Football Association invites trapped Thai boys to World Cup final

Federation Internationale de Football Association invites trapped Thai boys to World Cup final

Thai rescuers are assisted by an global search team comprising experts from China, Australia, the United States and Britain.

Thai soldiers and volunteers are seen at the entrance of Tham Luang cave in the Chiang Rai province on July 5, 2018. The boys had moved 400 meters further in as the ledge had become covered by water.

Authorities had originally suggested the safest strategy for the stricken team, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach, would be to keep them in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave complex until the monsoon season had passed in October and water levels had subsided enough for them to walk out.

The members of the Wild Boar soccer team were reported missing on June 23 when they didn't return from an outing after practice.

But an air line has been installed overnight to the cave where the group waits to be rescued.

Rescuers, including global teams, are considering alternative ways to bring the group out before heavy rains hit the country's north next week which could further hamper the rescue operation. Getting trained divers in is easier than getting untrained kids out.

Governor of the Chiang Rai province, Narongsak Osotthanakor, told reporters that oxygen levels in the cave have been quickly depleted by an influx of rescue workers in the cave.

But late yesterday the authorities said they are not ready to dive out. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the families and communities and we hope that they will soon be embracing their loved ones and restoring their strength and confidence.

A rescuer filmed one of the boys wearing an England jersey.

The oxygen inside the cave is also said to be running out.

Why it is proving hard to extricate Thai cave boys What next?

"This morning, I have asked for 13 sets of (diving) equipment to be prepared and checked the equipment lists and place them inside (the cave) in case we have to bring them out in this condition with less than 100 percent readiness", he said.

Asked at his midnight news conference about bringing the boys out underwater, the governor replied, "Not today because they can not dive at this time". "We will not let the sacrifice of our friend go to waste", Thai Navy SEAL commander Arpakorn Yookongkaew said.

Saman resigned from the Thai military in 2006 before working at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport, according to a post on the Thai Navy SEALs Facebook page, which said he was a triathlete and a "skilled and able diver".

Samarn Poonan, 38, a former member of Thailand's elite navy SEAL unit, died on Thursday night as he worked underwater in the cave complex, laying oxygen tanks along a potential exit route, the SEAL commander said.

Some of the children's parents have sent letters but the governor said he was was not sure if the trapped boys had read them.

"To all the parents, all the kids are still fine. I promise to take the very best care of the kids", he said.

"On behalf of the global 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", he wrote.

It is the first message from the coach, whose role in the team's predicament has split Thai social media.

The unprecedented rescue effort is attempting to establish new ways to extract the boys from above, if the underground chambers flood and it is deemed too risky to evacuate the team by diving out through the submerged passageways.

Other options under consideration are waiting out the monsoon - which could take months - or climbing out through a crack in the rock face, if one can be found.

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