The 25-year-old Thai football coach trapped in the cave with the 12 boys has apologised to all of the parents of the 11 to 16-year-olds.
As for the 12 boys trapped deep inside the Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand, they have asked for fried chicken, not too much homework and, heartbreakingly “to go straight home” in a series of letters to their parents released on Saturday morning.
As the team enters their 14th day trapped in the cave complex, and rescuers grapple with a range of options to free them as heavy rain approaches, the letters offer a glimpse of what they are going through.
At a briefing at 3am on Saturday morning, before the release of the letters, Chiang Rai province Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn said the boys were still learning to swim and dive and were not yet ready to attempt the perilous escape from the cave. Oxygen levels in the cave are also a concern.
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All plans to evacuate the boys are still being evaluated and he indicated a preference for not attempting a rescue on either Saturday or Sunday, which would allow rescuers more time to pump water out of the caves and train the boys.
But if the forecast rains arrive, a rescue attempt is likely – despite the risks. Another update on the situation is expected later on Saturday.
The commander of the team attempting to rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped in flooded cave in Thailand, Narongsak Osottanakorn, says that the biggest concern is making sure they have enough oxygen.
The notes, in blue biro and pencil, have been released by the Thai Navy SEALs and come just hours after letters from their parents were delivered to the boys inside the cave.
One of the notes, written down by a Navy SEAL who is with the boys in the cave, states they want to tell everyone outside “don’t worry, they are fine, they are all strong”.
“If they go out, they’d like to eat many things,” that “they want to go straight to their home” and that they ask their teachers for “not too much homework, please”.
Other notes, written by the boys in their own handwriting, are the first messages in days to have publicly emerged from the cave.
One of the boys, Chanin “Tun” Wiboonrungrueng, 11 – the youngest trapped under ground – states: “Dad, Mum, don’t worry I’m fine. Tell Yord, prepare to bring me fried chicken to eat”.
Another, Sompong “Pong” Jaiwong, 13, says: “Dear Mum and Dad, I love you. Don’t worry, I’m safe. Love you all.”
Duangpetch “Dom” Promthep, 13: “I’m fine but it’s a little bit cold, don’t worry and don’t forget my birthday.”
Adul “Dul” Sam-on, 14: “Don’t worry about us now. I miss everyone. I want to go back now.”
Mongkol “Mark” Boonpiam, 14: “Are you ok at home mum? Please tell my teacher. Love you mum”
From Peerapat “Night” Sompiangjai, 16 – who missed his birthday party because of being trapped in the cave, and whose parents still have a cake in the fridge, said: “I love Dad, Mum and [my] brother. Don’t worry about me. Night loves everyone.”
Nattawut “Tle” Takamsai, 14, said: “I miss Mum, Dad and [unclear] too. I love both of you. Don’t worry, I can take care of myself”.
Prajak “Note” Sutham, 14, wrote: “I’m safe, don’t worry. Love you Mum, Dad and everyone.”
Ekkarat “Bill” Wongsookchan, 14, whose younger brother “Beam” spoke to Fairfax Media this week, told his family: “Mum and Dad, don’t worry that I [am] missing for two weeks. I will help you at the shop soon.”
Pornchai “Tee” Kamluang, 16: “Mum, Dad, brother and family. Don’t worry, I’m very happy.”
The longest note came from Panumas “Mick” Saengdee, 13: “Don’t worry. I really miss everyone. Grandpa, uncle, Dad, Mum and [my] brothers. I love you all. I’m very happy here. Seal team is taking care of me very well. Love you all.”
In a sign the coach Ekaphol “Ake” Chantawong, 25, may still blame himself for the team being trapped, he states: “All parents, all of the kids are fine. Staff here are taking care of the kids very well”.
“And I promise I will take care of the kids at best. Thank you for your kind support and I would like to say I’m really sorry to you all.”
The coach also stated: “Dear grandma and aunt, I’m fine. Don’t worry about me too much. Please take care of your health. Aunt, please tell grandma to do vegetables paste and crispy pork skin. If I can go out, I’ll eat it.”
– Brisbane Times