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Diver dies trying to rescue soccer team trapped in Thai cave

Diver dies trying to rescue soccer team trapped in Thai cave

The team has been trapped in a chamber of the cave system since June 23.

One of them, Mario Sepulveda, tweeted a video yesterday that showed him greeting and encouraging the football team. "Even at funerals we listen to music and try to be happy", probably because Thai people are predominantly Buddhist, she says.

If the weather is on their side and enough water can be pumped out of the cave, the boys could get out the same way they got in, on foot, perhaps with some swimming.

The diver's death comes just days after 12 boys and their soccer coach were found alive in a Thailand cave after being lost for 10 days.

Officials would prefer to get the boys out as soon as possible because heavy rain expected by Saturday will nearly certainly raise water levels again in the cave, making passage in some areas even more hard, if not impossible.

They were trapped for 10 days before authorities found them perched on a muddy ledge almost 4km from the entrance of the cave.

"We have been trained to always be dealing with risks", he said.

It is where 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach entered the Tham Luang cave complex that now has them trapped.

With murky water rushing through the passageways and rescuers are concerned that having the boys dive out is a risky option.

"At first we thought we could sustain the kids' lives for a long time where they are now, but now many things have changed", said R Adm Arpakorn Yookongkaew, the Thai navy Seal commander. He said the 13 may not be extracted at the same time, depending on their condition.

In preparation for a possible extraction, the boys have been practicing using gear and masks.

"We can no longer wait for all conditions (to be ready) because of the oppressive situation", he told journalists Friday.

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. Several of the boys are seen smiling as they interact with the navy SEAL, who cracks jokes.

The huge operation to rescue them involves dozens of Thai Navy SEALs, and experts and volunteer divers from parts of Europe and Asia, as well as Australia and the US.

The letter, signed by FIFA President Gianni Infantino, invited the team to the World Cup final in Russian Federation, should they be rescued in time and be healthy enough to travel.

Seeing the boys has boosted the mood of their family members, and officials are working to install an internet cable to the cave so that parents can talk to their children. "I'm anxious ... he has never dived", said Somboon Kaewwongwan, the father of a 16-year-old boy.

When asked if a rescue attempt would be made overnight if it started to rain, Narongsak Osotthanakorn said: "No, the boys can't dive at this time". That could take months, however, given that Thailand's rainy season typically lasts through October.

While rescue workers have started teaching the boys some basic skills, experienced divers are wary of taking boys out through the cave's dark and risky waters.

The saga has captivated Thailand and the rest of the world as rescuers fought to pump out massive quantities of water to help make diving easier.

Other members of the soccer community sent words of encouragement, including Liverpool's charismatic coach Jurgen Klopp, who said everyone is following the news and hoping they come out safely.


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