Speaking a day after four boys were brought out from Luang cave, Prayuth said the operation's time frame is up to the provincial rescue command and he does not have the authority to interfere. They got the four boys out a few hours earlier than he had predicted at his morning news conference when he announced they were going in.
"The water level has reached the lowest it has been in ten days". He was reportedly among the first extracted because he was in the worst conditions because he had given the boys his share of the group's meagre food supply before they were found.
The rescue mission has faced a flawless storm of obstacles since it began, including monsoonal rains, a lack of oxygen in the cave and the fact that numerous boys trapped inside don't know how to swim let alone dive. Those conditions won't last if the rain resumes, he said.
Authorities have said the monsoons could cause water to rise in the cave.
As the monsoon rains begin, water is being pumped out of the caves and a plan is being developed to bring them to safety. "With the entire round trip taking roughly 11 hours to complete, it could be days before the entire group emerges".
The Wild Boars and their coach became trapped on June 23 when they set out to explore the vast cave complex after soccer practice, when a rainy season downpour flooded the tunnels. They had been missing for 10 days before they were discovered.
The ordeal has riveted Thailand and captured the world's attention.
An extensive operation involving up to 90 divers, including around 50 foreign nationals, is involved in the rescue mission.
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Experienced cave rescue experts consider an underwater escape a last resort, especially as the boys are untrained in diving.
Elon Musk posted a video of people testing a mini-submarine in a swimming pool to aid the rescue of a youth soccer team in Thailand.
Earlier Sunday morning, Trump tweeted that the US government is working with Thailand's government in the rescue operation. "Very courageous and talented people!"
The operation appears to be moving swiftly despite initial reports the boys could have been stuck in the cave for up to four months.
The boys sounded calm and reassuring in handwritten notes to their families that were made public Saturday.
Dive tanks are needed on the journey in and out - the average tank holds about 2200 litres of air, and a skilled diver uses between 15-20 litres per minute near the surface, with that amount increasingly rapidly at depth.
One of the boys, identified as Tun, wrote: "Mom and Dad, please don't worry, I am fine". "I can't tell you exact timing of the next operation".
"Don't be anxious", wrote another boy, Mick. "I can not say when the next phase will be carried out, we have to wait until conditions are like today", he said.
The boys had to navigate through flooded passages that are no more than two feet wide in some areas.
"I confirm that the kids know about the mission and they are willing and ready to come out".