Oxygen levels have dropped to 15 percent in the cave where flooding has trapped a Thai youth soccer team for two weeks. The risk of hypoxia and a forecast of additional rain in coming days has increased pressure on rescuers, who are considering a "buddy dive" plan, in which each of the boys would be paired with an expert cave diver.
Many of the boys cannot swim, and drilling through half a mile of solid rock to rescue them from above is unlikely to be a feasible solution. It is possible the cave could have a back entrance which would permit rescuers to bypass the flooded areas and raise the boys up through a chute, but so far one has not been found in the thick jungle landscape above the cave.
While rescuers determine the best course to proceed, the team and their coach have written short letters to anxious family members waiting outside. "What we want to communicate: The kids say don't be worried about them," one note reads. "All of them are strong. They would like to eat many different kinds of foods when they come out, and teachers, please don't give them too much homework." Bonnie Kristian