The operation to save a group of teens trapped in a cave in northern Thailand has taken a tragic turn after a volunteer rescuer died.
"Now and in the next three or four days, the conditions are flawless (for evacuation) in terms of the water, the weather and the boys' health", Narongsak Osottanakorn, the chief of the rescue operation, told reporters.
The command center is located two kilometers (1.2 miles) inside the cave, where the young soccer team and their coach have been trapped for nearly two weeks. On Friday, he set out around 1 a.m. local time to deliver three oxygen tanks to where the boys and their coach are trapped.
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. "Our last trip together was to Malaysia". "We're still at war with water and time". "So we took him to the hospital". "If we would cooperate globally in every aspect like we do here nearly all of our problems would be solved", he said.
A military aircraft will carry Kunan's body from Chiang Rai to Satthahip Navy Base Friday evening.
"Definitely, you can feel it that it has an effect, but we're moving on".
But getting them out won't be easy.
"We hope that, in some way, our words of support may help bring them a little peace and courage in these hard moments of uncertainty and concern".
One boy wrote: "I'm doing fine, but the air is a little cold but don't worry".
The letter, signed by Fifa President Gianni Infantino, also said they would like to invite the youngsters and their coach to the World Cup final in Russian Federation - if they are rescued in time and well enough to travel.
The ordeal facing the boys was underscored by the death of a former Thai Navy SEAL in the cave on Friday morning.
However, the death of an experienced diver in the cave system underlines the inherent risks in attempting to move the boys, who are physically weak after days without food.
Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun A family member cries during the visit of Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha (not pictured) near the Tham Luang cave complex, as an ongoing search for members of an under-16 soccer team and their coach continues, in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand, June 29, 2018.
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.
It is estimated that it would take five hours for even experienced divers to cross the four-kilometre stretch, with the United Kingdom divers who had first reached the stranded group stating that the dive was "gnarly" and full of tight passages submerged in low-visibility water.
However more rain is forecast this weekend, putting pressure on rescuers to act soon or have to contend with even higher water levels inside the cramped chambers.
Rescuers in Thailand were no closer on Thursday to deciding when and how to extract 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave complex, where they were found this week, hungry and frail but otherwise in good health, after nine days lost underground.
As The New York Times points out, Phak, an army doctor with SEAL training, can be seen in the series of Facebook videos administering medical treatment to the trapped kids in the video.
"Learning to dive is easy, but this is not normal diving", he said.
He says that even divers with considerable expertise have been "climbing up, climbing through, going (through water with) zero visibility to finally get through the team".