Both boys, who go by their nicknames, had planned to go on the June 23 hike into Tham Luang Nang Non, Thailand's longest cave, which ended with 12 of their Wild Boars teammates and coach getting trapped inside by floodwaters.
Monsoon flooding cut off their escape and prevented rescuers finding them for nearly 10 days. Monsoon flooding cut off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for nearly 10 days as the only way to reach them was by navigating dark and tight passageways filled with muddy water and strong currents. Experienced cave rescue experts consider an underwater escape a last resort, especially with people untrained in diving, as the boys are.
They have to work their way through a narrow passage that is flooded in sometimes deep, dark and low visibility areas.
But rescue officials fear their options are running out given fresh monsoon rains are forecast for the coming days.
"The conditions in the cave are tough", Apakorn told reporters on Friday.
He says: "The plan that I've held on to from the beginning is that we have to bring the kids out and the determining factor of this plan is to have as little water as possible". "But if the situation is stable [inside their chamber], we can let them stay".
The letters are the first messages from the trapped teens to their families.
"Once we confirm what exactly will be helpful to send or do, we will".
The handwritten notes include requests for food, including fried chicken.
Another of the boys, Pong, reassures his parents he is doing well, writing, "Love you mum and dad, you don't have to worry, we're safe".
Another boy, 13-year-old Sompong "Pong" Jaiwong, put on a fearless face: "Dear Mum and Dad, I love you". A former Thai navy SEAL passed out making the dive Friday and died. "I love you all".
Four boys rescued from Thai cave, much work still to do
They were discovered by a team of British divers on Monday and rescue operations have been meticulously planned all week. Cave rescue experts consider an underwater escape to be a last resort, especially with people untrained in diving.
"Don't worry, I'm fine. Although, don't forget to set up my birthday party".
"When we were kids, we weren't much better than this. I promise to take the very best care of the kids", wrote Ekkapol Chantawong in a note. "I want to say thanks for all the support and I want to apologise to the parents". The 13 are having health evaluations and rehabilitation, and are being taught diving skills. "His job was to deliver oxygen, but he did not have enough on his way back".
Officials warned on Friday that oxygen levels inside the cave have fallen and rescuers were racing to get more oxygen pipes into the cave.
Another approach was to use full-face oxygen masks and accompanying them out on a treacherous swim through pitch black tunnels.
Scribbled notes by the trapped boys and their coach were posted on the Thai Navy Seal Facebook page on Saturday (July 7) morning.
On Thursday, an ex-Navy SEAL who was working as a volunteer to help rescue the boys, died from lack of oxygen while attempting to place oxygen canisters in the cave.
Osottanakorn says he speaks to the families every day and asks if they want him to bring out the children right now.
Billionaire inventor and entrepreneur Elon Musk said engineers from his SpaceX & Boring Co. were headed to Thailand to see if they could help.
Narongsak Osottanakorn said that after that, further rains could imperil the group.