A huge operation is underway to rescue 12 boys aged 11 to 16 and their 25-year-old soccer coach who have been trapped for nearly two weeks in the Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai province in Thailand after floodwater blocked their escape route.
The team disappeared after deciding to explore the complex cave system following a football game on June 23. Since their discovery by British cave divers the group have been cared for by members of the Thai Navy SEALS, among them medical experts.
Since boys are unable to dive, rescue efforts are focusing on delivering diving equipment and teaching the group how to use them.
"The boys are not suitable. They cannot dive out at this time - the problem is the children's readiness to dive," said Narongsak Osottanakorn, the commander of the rescue mission.
Thai navy SEALs posted images of handwritten notes from the boys including a joint letter the group wrote in bullet-point form:
-- Don't worry, everybody is healthy
-- We really want to go out and eat so many types of food
-- When we get out, we want to go home right away
-- Teacher, don't give us a lot of homework
Samarn Poonan, 38, a former member of Thailand's elite navy SEAL unit, died yesterday (July 6) in a narrow passage in the cave on his way back from delivering oxygen to the boys. He reportedly ran out of oxygen.
Elon Musk, the billionaire entrepreneur, has sent engineers from his SpaceX & Boring Company to help with the rescue. Musk's Boring Company, which digs tunnels for transport systems, has
"advance ground penetrating radar" that is "pretty good at digging holes".
"Will do my best to help the team," Musk tweeted
The huge operation to rescue the group involves Thai Navy SEALs, experts and volunteer divers from Europe, Asia, Australia and the US.
With reporting by news agencies