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Mission to rescue 12 boys trapped in Thai cave appears imminent

Mission to rescue 12 boys trapped in Thai cave appears imminent

"Now and in the next three or four days, the conditions are flawless (for evacuation) in terms of the water, the weather and the boys' health", Osottanakorn, the chief of the rescue operation told reporters. They said they want to eat many things.

The boys and their coach have been trapped in the cave since June 23 when monsoon flooding cut them off.

"If we face heavy rain, we must bring the kids out", he told a midnight press briefing.

According to the BBC, the highly trained diver ran out of of oxygen during the 11 hour trip in and out of the cave and was unable to be revived by his diving partner.

Dozens of divers arrived at the Tham Luang cave on Sunday morning and officials set up more tarpaulin sheets blocking off the divers' operating area.

Gong Hui, a Chinese diver involved in the operation that has drawn some 130 Thai and worldwide divers, told Reuters on Saturday before the fresh rains that water levels in the cave had "receded a lot" after sustained pumping had removed millions of litres of water.

"Dear all kids' parents, now all of them are fine, the rescue team is treating us well". SEAL team is taking care of me very well. I'm happy being here inside, the navy SEALS have taken good care.

The death of the Thai diver, Saman Gunan, on Friday underscored the risks of making the underwater journey.

"The environment inside the cave is challenging".

The Thai boys trapped in a cave for two weeks have written letters to their parents, saying "don't worry. we are all strong".

Rescue efforts continue at the flooded and deadly cave network in which they have been trapped for two weeks.

A senior army commander, Maj.

Narongsak Osottanakorn said conditions were now "perfect". Oxygen levels are decreasing because of the numbers of workers inside the cave.

He tweeted:"Sending support and prayers to the Seal unit and the first four kids to come out safe".

The boys, aged between 11 and 16, and their 25-year-old coach remain in good spirits despite being trapped in the chamber since June 23.

Rescuers say they won't immediately attempt an underwater evacuation because the boys have not yet learned adequate diving skills.

Authorities have been racing to pump out water before more storms in the coming days raise the levels again. At this time though, diving is the only possible method of escape, even though cave rescue experts warn it is extremely risky even for those with experience.

Officials have dismissed speculation that the boys could be trapped for up to four months, although supplies have been prepared for that period of time.

The dramatic rescue efforts and the boys' plight have garnered worldwide attention, perhaps most notably at soccer's most widely watched event, the World Cup.

The fourth letter from the Thai boys stuck in a cave included messages from Mongkol "Mark" Boonpiam, 14, and Panumas "Mick" Saengdee, 13. He said the boys were still healthy and have practised wearing diving masks and breathing in preparation for the diving possibility.

This is the monsoon season, and when heavy rains return, they could send a pulse of floodwaters through the cave complex, endangering the group.

Earlier in the week, efforts to lower the water levels had generated an air of optimism. The idea is to get some headroom so the boys would not be reliant on scuba apparatus for a long stretch and could keep their heads above water.

Football's world governing body, FIFA, has offered to fly the Thai boys and their coach to the World Cup Final in Moscow on July 15 if they are rescued before then.

In the meantime, oxygen levels have fallen inside the cave complex.