Japan's World Cup team sends trapped Thai boys good luck wish

Richard Stanton left and John Volanthen arrive in Mae Sai Chiang Rai province in northern Thailand. —AP

Mr Osatanakorn asked Thai navy SEALs in charge of extraction plans to estimate what sort of a risk would be involved to take them out and "what kind of readiness we can have today and decide if we can take that chance".

"Now we are teaching the children to swim and dive", he said, adding that if water levels fell and the flow weakened, they would be taken out quickly.

Divers, medics, counselors and Thai navy SEALS were with the 12 schoolboys and a 25-year-old assistant coach, providing medicines and food while experts assessed conditions for getting them out safely, a task the government said would not be easy.

The boys, many wrapped in space blankets, take turns introducing themselves, folding their hands together in a traditional greeting and saying their names and that they are healthy.

The video of that first contact was also posted on Facebook by Thai navy special forces.

The group consists of Dr Pak Loharnshoon, who had graduated from the navy Seals training course, a nurse from the Royal Thai Navy's underwater and hyperbaric medi-cine unit, and seven members of the Thai navy Seals.

The soccer team and their coach were trapped in Tham Luang Nang Non cave when they made a decision to explore it following a game on June 23. The teammates, who were trapped inside when heavy rains flooded the cave, were found by rescue divers Monday night during a desperate search that drew assistance from experts around the globe.

They were found on Monday time after nine days trapped deep in the cave by rising water, and have since received food and medical treatment. Though they are visibly skinny and weak, the boys and their coach appear to be in good spirits, smiling for the camera as the SEALs crack jokes.

A medical assessment has found that it is still too unsafe to try to move the youngsters, an unnamed source in the Thai Navy Seals told CNN.

Seeing the boys has boosted the mood of their family members, and officials are working to install an internet cable to the cave so that parents can talk to their children. "I told them that all the big teams had gone home", the navy Seal member said. "I want to tell him I'm still here waiting", Kieng Khamleu, said of her son Pornchai Khamleung inside the cave.

In footage of the discovery a light is cast on the faces of the trapped boys, while a rescuer with an English accent is heard trying to reassure the group that help is coming.

Another video has helped boost morale as its messenger knows better than most what the boys and their coach are going through.

He returned Wednesday to offer prayers for their safe rescue, and as measure of the respect in which he was held, was allowed access to the cave, which is generally off-limits to outsiders.

With rain and flooding on the forecast, the pressure to rescue the boys is on. "We have to be 100 percent confident that there is no risk to the boys before we evacuate", provincial governor Narongsak Osottanakorn said.

Experts say Ekapol's meditation - a mainstay of the Buddhist faith - likely served the group well.

Also per CNN, two of the boys and the coach are exhausted and malnourished.

The boys would be taken out of the cave when they are mentally ready and physically fit for the potentially punishing journey of more than 4km to the mouth of the cave, the authorities said.

Divers in Thailand are working to rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave network.

There is no simple solution for the 12 boys and their football coach, who are being looked after by Thai military divers and an worldwide team of underground rescue experts.

Authorities still hope they can manage any fresh deluge, with high-powered pumps draining 128 million litres (34 million gallons) of water so far from the cave in a round-the-clock effort.

Rafael, 53, who is from Israel but has lived in Thailand for more than 30 years, said he had been inside the cave 25 years ago and found that it was more hard to navigate than other caves he had tackled.

One possibility is that the 13 stay put in the Tham Luang cave until the flood waters recede, at the end of the rainy season in about four months.

While rescuers have started teaching the boys some basic skills, experienced divers are wary of taking boys out through the cave's dark and risky waters. "They haven't rested since day one", he said.



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