Federation Internationale de Football Association invite trapped Thai boys to World Cup

Hugh Fox
July 9, 2018

It has been suggested that they may need to learn how to scuba dive in order to escape, but none of the children can swim and cave diving is a notoriously unsafe sport, as emphasised by the death of one of their rescuers, Saman Gunan, a former navy diver, in the caves on Friday.

He said she had told him that the "navy Seal had practised for so long, and was so strong, but also died".

Police stand guard outside the Tham Luang cave complex after Thailand's government instructed members of the media to move out urgently, in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand, July 8, 2018.

But late yesterday the authorities said they are not ready to dive out.

There were 18 promising ones, the deepest at 400m, but Mr Narongsak said he was not sure if it would reach the boys, who are believed to be about 600m below the surface.

More than two miles inside the cave, where they are being fortified with high-protein gels and foil warming blankets, the boys have been practicing wearing diving masks and breathing under the instructions of the SEALs.

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Retired Petty Officer Saman Gunan was delivering air tanks to the stranded group, who are in a subterranean chamber with oxygen levels running low, the BBC reported. The usual level is 21%.

But an air line has been installed overnight to the cave where the group waits to be rescued. Rescuers, including worldwide teams, are pondering other ways to bring the group out before heavy rains hit the country's north which could further hamper the rescue operation.

The main concern is rain forecast in the next three to four days. Players from teams including England and Sweden have recorded good luck video messages for the trapped boys, and Federation Internationale de Football Association has invited the 13 to the World Cup final should they be rescued in time and are healthy enough to travel.

Earlier Friday, Thai SEAL commander Arpakorn Yookongkaew said there is a "limited amount of time" to rescue the boys and the coach.

"Some are as deep as 400 metres. but they still can not find their location yet", Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters, adding the mission lacked the technology "to pinpoint where they are staying".

But he indicated that further downpours might force their hand and speed up attempts to extract them despite the dangers of carrying out such a gargantuan effort.

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The 12 boys, aged between 11 and 16, who went on an excursion to the Tham Luang network, became trapped inside the caves when monsoon rains arrived and flooded them in.

The governor's midnight news conference, held just as a drizzle started to fall over the muddy, chaotic rescue site, underscored the lack of a good option to free the boys and their coach after they were found alive Monday night. According to BBC News, teams of Thai and global divers have been supplying the boys and the coach with food, oxygen and medical attention. More than 100 chimneys are being drilled into the mountain to reach the team, rescue operation chief Narongsak Osottanakorn said on Saturday.

The huge operation to rescue the group involves scores of Thai Navy SEALs, in addition to experts and volunteer divers from parts of Europe and Asia, as well as Australia and the US. "Even the most highly trained individuals can have problems", said Monty Fitzpatrick, owner of Scuba Shack and a Scuba safety training expert.

"It's very risky (diving out)".

"Dear all kids' parents, now all of them are fine, the rescue team is treating us well", the 25-year-old coach wrote.

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