Poignant letters to their parents from boys trapped in Thai cave - Ireland

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Less than a week later, Samarn, a former member of the Thai navy's SEAL unit, would die in the Tham Luang cave, the first casualty in a multinational operation to first find, then rescue the boys and their coach who went missing on July 23, after downpours flooded the cave network they were exploring.

Dwindling oxygen levels in the cave complex and weather forecasts predicting more heavy rain added to the pressure on authorities to work out a rescue plan.

Arpakorn also told reporters Friday that time to rescue the boys is now "limited", though he did not specify the reasons.

The letter signed by Federation Internationale de Football Association president Gianni Infantino also said the organisation would like to invite the youngsters and their coach to the World Cup final in Russia, should they be rescued in time and are healthy enough to travel.

Katadzic has not dived the final kilometre to where the boys are stranded on a muddy bank, the most unsafe part of the dive where rescuers have to hold their oxygen tanks in front of them to squeeze through submerged holes.

"A navy SEAL just passed away last night".

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.

More heavy rain is expected to fall over the weekend but the governor emphasized that rescuers would only try to free the team if the risk to their lives was minimal.

On Friday, Thai Navy SEAL chief Rear Adm. Aphakorn Yoo-kongkaew said oxygen levels in the cave had dropped to 15%, a level that one Thai medic said posed a serious risk of hypoxia, the same condition that causes altitude sickness.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha expressed his condolences over Samarn's death but it would not deter the rescue teams, a spokesman said.

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An anonymous navy source told the ABC three factors were driving the urgency - the water level inside the cave, the amount of oxygen available, and the health of the boys and their coach.

M - Petty Officer Saman Gunan lost consciousness on his way out of the Tham Luang cave complex, where he had been delivering supplies, BBC reports.

Divers took the boys letters written by family members camped outside the cave but an attempt to send down a phone failed earlier this week. When they come out they want to go back home immediately.

After several days of searching, rescuers found all 13 people alive but face a challenge to extract them from the situation .

Officials hope an upgraded draining effort can lower the water in an area where it is still at or near the ceiling.

But getting them out won't be easy.

Divers first reached the trapped kids Monday with medicine and food. Some of the boys can not swim. One escape plan called for having the boys scuba dive to safety.

That could take months, however, given that Thailand's rainy season typically lasts until October.

Narongsak said they would have to drill through 600 metres (1,970 feet) of fragile limestone rock to reach the boys and were discussing drilling angles.