Twelve boys and their soccer coach are trapped in a cave in northern Thailand and, despite the fact that they've been found, their rescue is a whole other challenge.
Authorities now say that nearly the entire first 1,500 metre stretch from the cave mouth to the third chamber - where the Thai navy SEALS have set up a command post - is now walkable and that they have the water levels under control. Please take good care of yourself.
"It's so sad to see where they are and we hope they get out safe and sound".
Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn (left) said the boys were still healthy and have practised wearing diving masks and breathing in preparation for the diving possibility.
One, identified as Tun, wrote: "Mom and Dad, please don't worry, I am fine. I miss everyone. I want to go back now".
Meanwhile, Thai authorities have started drilling more than 100 chimneys into the mountainside in a bid to extract the boys from above.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp urged them to "stay strong and know we are with you", in a video message sent to CNN. "If the oxygen levels are down and the carbon dioxide levels are up, then you can get too much carbon dioxide in your blood". Crews are attempting to run a hose from the cave entrance to pump air into the cavern.
"As you can see, all the officials have a mountain on their shoulders", Narongsak said.
Some Thai officials have proposed leaving the boys and their coach in the cave for four months, until the water subsides and they can walk out.
"The water level may rise to the area where the children are sitting and make the area less than 10 square meters", he said, citing estimates from cave divers and experts.
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This is the monsoon season, and when heavy rains return, they could send a pulse of floodwaters through the cave complex, endangering the group.
Since being discovered, there is an intense rescue mission underway to free the group before a deluge is able to fill the tunnels with more flood waters.
Admiral Arpakorn Yuukongkaew said: "We won't let his life be in vain".
That risky journey killed a trained Navy SEAL Friday who passed out underwater while delivering oxygen tanks inside the cave.
And even among the tension brought on by the continuing debate over how to rescue the soccer team, the 13 people in need of rescuing were keeping the mood light, even joking about homework.
Attempts to install a phone line to allow the trapped boys to speak to their families have so far failed.
"I love you, Dad, Mum and my sister".
Peerapat, 16, wrote: "I love Dad, Mum and [my] brother".
But more rain could erase that progress.The group's 25-year-old soccer coach, trapped with his 12 players aged 11 to 16, has written an apology to the children's parents, which was ferried out by expert divers attending to the group trapped in the cave. "Thank you for your support and I am so sorry to everyone." he wrote. "I deeply apologize to the parents".
In this Monday, July 2, 2018, file photo, family members hug after hearing the news that the missing 12 boys and their soccer coach have been found in the flooded cave in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand. They want to go home immediately once they get out.
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