A medical assessment of the 12 boys and their football coach stuck in a cave in Northern Thailand has concluded that it is too risky to try to move the group out Thursday, according to a member of the Thai Navy Seals who is not authorized to speak to the media.
Rescue teams initially didn't plan to rush the boys and their coach out, but heavy rains forecasted for later this week are threatening to push forward those plans.
Thai soldiers makes their way down at the entrance to a cave complex where 12 boys and their soccer coach were trapped inside when heavy rains flooded the cave, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai province, in northern Thailand. And seven members of the Seals, including two medics, have joined them.
"How many of you are there - 13?"
The video of that first contact was also posted on Facebook by Thai navy special forces.
Thai Navy Seals took six hours to reach the boys and another five hours to return.
A new video of a youth football team trapped in the bowels of a Thai cave emerged on Tuesday showing the boys laughing and saying they are well after their astonishing discovery by divers nine days after going missing.
Military divers have reached the boys and have been providing food and medical treatment.
After days of solitude, the boys are now receiving a string of visitors, including rescue divers and health professionals, and they are being fed liquid, high-protein food.
In a heartening message to families waiting outside the cave, footage was released by the Thai Navy SEALS featuring 11 of the 12-strong team.
"It's like he has been given a new life", she said, adding that she will never let her son go into a cave or near water again.
The divers are making the complicated dive back and forth to the small, cramped shelf where the boys have sheltered within the flooded cave complex. It also raised hope among family members, some of whom have stayed at the chaotic, muddy site where rescue operations are being coordinated since the boys went missing.
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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.
Experienced divers are wary of taking out the boys through the dark and unsafe waters still in the cave, especially since they are untrained.
All 13 survivors are now familiarising themselves with diving gear as rescue planners concluded yesterday that they will have to dive through floodwaters to get out of the Tham Luang cave, where they have been stranded since June 23.
However, attempts to install the cables have been unsuccessful so far, Major Gener Bancha Duriyaphan said.
"We are no longer digging - we will find a way that can give us access (without digging) direct to the area where the boys are", he said. "It has to be 100 percent safe".
He said he 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".
But Narongsak said rescue teams are still looking for other ways to rescue the boys, such as locating alternative routes into the cave's network of narrow passageways.
That could take months, however, given that Thailand's rainy season typically lasts into October.
It takes a healthy adult around three days to learn to scuba dive, usually in calm, clear water, during daylight and with no obstructions overhead.
"Nobody will teach anyone a full cave course, but trying to get them comfortable with masks, with the breathing, [is] completely different", said Claus Rasmusen, a certified cave diving instructor based in Thailand who has been helping the Thai SEAL team with logistics.
He refused to speculate on how long they might be trapped, but explained that while there are enough provisions for four months, anyone fit and able to leave the cave would be evacuated as soon as possible.