CHIANG RAI: Deep inside the labyrinth of flooded and narrow passageways of Tham Luang cave, messages of hope have kept spirits up for the 12 Thai boys and their coach trapped inside since Jun 23.
A set of letters from their families were delivered to them on Friday (Jul 6) by Thai navy SEALs. This came hours before the boys penned their thoughts and affection for their loved ones waiting anxiously outside.
For the first time in two weeks, the stranded 13 could communicate directly with their family members. A lack of telephones and Internet inside the small chamber where they have been spending days and nights in near darkness means their parents and relatives have had to write what they wished to say.
For them, the letters are probably the closest thing to the voices that they would like to hear. One of them reads:
“Dear children, all your parents are waiting for you and sending you our support. We’re not angry and we don’t blame you at all. Take good care of yourselves and keep warm with blankets. It’s cold down there. Mummy is worried, but you’ll get to come out soon. Daddy Sak and mummy are waiting for you outside the cave, darling.”
The set of letters contains six pages. It includes a short message from the mental health support team whose members wished the children physical and mental strength and readiness to return to their parents’ embrace.
“Our team will take care of your mums and dads. You guys have to stay safe too,” they wrote.
“SAY THANK YOU WHEN YOU COME OUT”
Among the touching letters is one from Adul’s parents, who cannot speak Thai and asked a translator to help translate their thoughts and prayers for their son.
“Daddy and mummy long to see your face. We pray for you and your friends so we can see you soon,” the letter reads.
“Once you’ve come out of the cave, we want you to say ‘thank you’ to every officer. We want you to trust God and not to worry. Daddy and mummy will be waiting for you until you come out.”
Fourteen-year-old Adul Sam-on is believed to be the boy who communicated in English with two British cave diving experts when they first discovered the missing football team. Local media reported he is an ethnic minority from Myanmar, and that he can speak four languages, including Thai, English, Chinese and Myanmar.
Besides the heartwarming messages to the children, parents also wrote to their football coach Ekapol Chanthawong or Ake. One of them reads:
“Dear Coach Ake, we parents would like to ask you to look after our children. Don’t blame yourself. We want you to rest assured none of us feels angry with you. We all understand and support you. Thank you for looking after our children. Coach, you’ve gone in there with them. Come out with them too and do it safely.”
In response, the football coach later replied in writing he is sorry for what happened and thanked the parents for their support. He also vowed to care for them the best he can and assured the children’s families they are well taken care of by the rescue team.
The chamber where the Moo Pa (Wild Boar) Academy team is stuck is several kilometres deep inside the Tham Luang cave complex, flooded and dark. As the rescue operation continues, more than 100 Thai navy SEALs work round the clock to retrieve the stranded boys in a race against nature.
Thailand has entered the monsoon season and heavy rains have been forecast in the north over the weekend. If they pour, the rains could raise the water levels inside the limestone cave complex to a threshold that could jeopardise safe evacuation.
As Thai authorities, various experts and volunteers try to come up with the safest rescue plan, families of the stranded are determined to remain optimistic.
“My dear Titan, mummy is waiting for you outside the cave. Mummy love(s) you and miss you so much. You have to be patient and fight. You have to be strong. I’m waiting for you just outside. You have to make it. I believe you can do it,” a mother wrote.
“You’ll always have mummy’s support. I love you so much. Daddy also misses you dearly and loves you with all his heart.”
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